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PROCESSED 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 



http://www.archive.org/details/processedworld09proc 






issue 9 -winter '83 



LETTERS 2 

from our readers 

MESSENGER 19 

article fay Jonathan Peake 

WALLING OF AWARENESS 23 

article fay bradlei; rose 

DOWNTIME! 33 

short items from here and there 

THAT OFFICE! 40 

"tale of toil" fay roberta werdinger 

THE LINE YOU HAVE REACHED... 

DISCONNECT IT! 42 

article fay lucius cabins 

ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL 48 

a "memo from bechtel" 

PIECE WORK 50 

fiction fay penn\; skillman 

BAD GIRL 55 

fay shirley garzotto 

AGAINST "FAIRNESS" & FARES 59 

article fay lucius cabins 

TECHNO-FASCInatJonS with war gaMes 64 

review fay melquiades 

CHECK 'em OUT! 67 

recommended magazines 

All of the articles in Processed World reflect the views and fantasies of the 
author and not necessarily; those of other contributors or editors. 

Cover Graphic by: Oscar Bernal issn ^0735-938i 



£> <> <> 



£> <^ <^ 



CREDITS: Zoe Noe, Bradley Rose, Linda Thomas, Maxine Holz, Stephen Marks, 
Helen Highwater, Chris Winks, Mark Leger, Lucius Cabins, Shirley Garzotto, 
Rickie "K", Clayton Sheridan, Steve Stallone, Louis Michaelson, Mark Barclay, Jo 
Falcon, Jeff. G., Jill Allison, Meadow, and others . . . 



<«-»T 










People — 

Your efforts provide a forum and 
vehicle for communication that is 
very worthwhile. . . I suggest that 
the notion that the "traditions" of 
the "revolutionary movements" 
can be drawn upon for any kind of 
guidance as to "what is to be 
done," is totally misguided. The 
past does not produce solutions; 
history is not liberation. Analogies 
about re-inventing the wheel, not 
putting one's hand into the fire a 
second time, etc., are specious and 
unhelpful. Even in PW, one can see 
(as one trend and variant among 
many) the tendency to pursue and 
produce rhetoric, which is the ver- 
bal mattress ideologues place be- 
tween themselves and the cold, 
hard floor of reality's basement. To 
the extent that the temptation to 
"draw upon the past" is taken in a 
serious way, PW will founder and 
fail, as just another vehicle for 
processed thinking. Ideology is a 
Big Mac of the mind. 

The great value of PW (and for 
which I send you hugs and kisses) is 
that, for the most part, it has not 
(yet, at least) succumbed to the 
temptation to reduce the world as ijt 
is, to a series of mental "spots," a 
la left wing commercials/singles. I 
regret it when people take as rev- 
olutionary, the primeval practice of 



dividing the world into us/them, 
pig-dog-lackey-subhuman robots on 
the one hand, and revolutionary, 
freedom-loving, good-hearted folks, 
on the other. To the extent that 
people partake of such delusional 
ways of viewing the world, they 
tend to create these realities around 
themselves. 

The exciting thing about PW is 
people talking in the language of 
life (which has no "revolutionary 
tradition"), about their actual ex- 
periences. Will was right in PW#6 
when he spoke of apathy as the 
functional politics of the great (and, 
yes, usually silent) majority. When 
people see actual alternatives, not 
theoretical visions, then there will 
be movement. And let's be clear 
about what an "alternative" is: I 
am currently a member of a large, 
"progressive" food co-op in the 
Seattle area, which promotes "al- 
ternative" insurance that turns 
down applicants if it appears they 
might use the insurance; has a 
"democratic" internal structure 
with no printed set of documents 
describing how the levers of power 
within the co-op are available to its 
membership; and which has a cur- 
rent money surplus, the disposition 
of which is being used not to reduce 
prices for the membership, thus 
freeing them a bit from reliance 



Letters 



upon the real status quo, but 
instead, is earmarked for further 
co-op expansion, via the creation of 
more stores. Not all that's an 
"alternative," is, unless your idea 
of a real choice is Safeway vs. 
Tradewell, or Brand X vs. Brand Y. 
Well, enough for now. 

Sincerely, 
D.R. — Seattle 




Dear PW, 

I think you have initiated the next 
great craze for the U.S.A. and 
enclose an offer to purchase 99% 
of your stock via our dummy-cor- 
poration fronts in the Seychelles, 
Panama etc. In addition we propose 
a clothing corporation selling 'Pro- 
cessed World' T-Shirts, buttons 
etc.; a 'people's stock exchange' to 
help community groups support our 
industrial efforts in the Third 
World; a private public relations or- 
ganization to stimulate the imag- 
inations of young Americans and 
increase their demand for our nov- 
elty items through flashy but es- 
sentially harmless pseudo-terrorist 
acts against straw capitalists cre- 
ated by our 'biographical staff; a 
chain of 'Processed World' disco- 
teques serving "Marxist" drinks at 
high markups to the children of the 
privileged classes, together with an 
entertainment corporation whose 
records and videos, released under 
camouflage of a number of seem- 
ingly separate legal subsidiaries, 
will allow young Americans pas- 
sively to simulate the process of 
social criticism and thus give them 
the illusion of independent personal 
existence as promised by the U.S. 
Constitution, all the while hooking 
them on our products. We shall 
create a large labour force by hyp- 
notising large numbers of losers 
into the belief that since "wage 



labour" is fundamentally immoral, 
they should work on strict com- 
mission and not expect any guaran- 
teed support whatsoever from us. In 
court we can maintain that our 
status as a political organ exempts 
us from the minimum wage statutes. 
We have already drafted 20 self- 
help authors to prepare 'Books for 
Success' on the lines of "Think for 
Yourself in 30 days!", "How to be 
Rude to Capitalist Swine", "How to 
make a fortune as a political ac- 
tivist", "Processed World's Buy- 
er's Handbook", "Socialist Real- 
ism: The Magic Key to Self-Expres- 
sion", "The Girls of Processed 
World: Beauty Tips for Aquarian- 
Age Proles", "1001 dirty Marxist 
Jokes Old and New", "How to 
Make Nouveau-Expressionist Prints 
in Ten Easy Lessons", "Death to 
the AMA!" (naturally we have our 
chemists at work now on 'Marxist 
natural healing potions' which 
should guarantee us a 3500% retail 
markup) — etc. etc. Our publishing 
operations will include an endless 
series of romantic novels where the 
lowly word processoress hooks a 
high-level management executive 
and, amidst a flurry of torrid sex 
disguised as noble political action, 
eventually persuades him to leave 
the wicked Capitalist Anthill and be 
her front man in a lucrative new 
'Processed World' enterprise. 




Processed World 



We are sure that you will find our 
offer exciting, since after all you are 
good Americans and know that 
making a profit is a nice thing for 
everyone. Americans love to think 
they are riding the crest of the 
future and we are in a position to 
flatter their vanity right to the limit 
in this respect. And after all — if 
they are happy with our products, 
surely we must be fulfilling an au- 
thentic need?! You will all end up 
with honorary doctorates from the 
university of your choice and lovely 
homes in Manhattan and Santa 
Monica. In the meanwhile you will 
have $25,000 cash for the rag direct 
from us and a full 2% of the profits 
from future related enterprise, and 
until our advertising sales mana- 
gers regard 'Processed World' as 
ripe for nationwide glossy distri- 
bution, you will maintain nominal 
editorial control! (These terms are 
subject to certain legal provisos 
which we can discuss after you have 
signed the enclosed contracts.) We 
know that you will find our offer 
scrupulously fair and a credit to the 
great American tradition of Life, 
Liberty and the Pursuit of Lucre; 
because if you do not you will be 
eliminated within two weeks and 
your children mysteriously refused 
credit for the rest of their lives. 
What a shame that would be, nicht 
wahr? 

Yours truly, 

John Q. Standard 

Chief Executive Officer 

The United States of America 






Dear People: 

Being a part of the bureaucratic 
red tape that puts people in little 
boxes and then forgets where they 
are placed, I am belatedly answer- 
ing your kind missive, not knowing 



when you will receive this, but 
knowing that in due time you will. 

As you are well aware of, I am a 
prisoner, and there are some things 
which are deemed unfit for my re- 
habilitation. It seems as if your 
magazine is included in that frame 
of mind. So when I do get your 
magazine it is only about three 
weeks behind when it is sent to me, 
sometimes even later. I am won- 
dering if it is not read by the staff 
here and then passed around, which 
is not a bad idea, in point, but of 
little help to those who may read it. 
In order to understand what is said 
a person has to first have some 
understanding of their own worth 
first and no one who can work in this 
system has that kind of under- 
standing. 

I have no money, but if I did, I 
would have to pay the state for the 
privilege of receiving your maga- 
zine, which is something that I 
refuse to do. That is why I brush my 
teeth with salt and use some of the 
most caustic soap in the world (Pink 
Death) when I shower because I will 
not pay these people for the thrill of 
using Colgate. 

I have enjoyed every issue of your 
magazine and I would like to keep 
receiving it, even if it is not 
conducive to my well-being in the 
eyes of the people who mis-run this 
hell hole, that is the only price I will 
pay for it while I am in here, to me 
that is worth more than money. I 
could order many hot-dog maga- 
zines which are offered, (i.e. hot- 
dog, fuck books, with pictures of 
naked women and men, condoned 
and approved by all the reigning 
members of the parole board), and I 
would be considered a model con- 
vict, as long as I did not masturbate, 
which is frowned upon, as being an 
illegal handling of the sexual or- 
gans. 

I have done some writing and I 
just came out in the magazine 
Yellow Silk. It is a simple pleasure 



Letters 



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THE GUMB/ STORK 



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to sit and let the human element of 
my being come alive. It is a sin for 
man in this place of lost souls to try 
to hold on to his humanity, it means 
that the system has not performed 
the final operation on a sleep 
starved mind. I read and listen to 
the news, and I hear the people who 
in their fear are calling for more 
people to be put into prison, and I 
cannot understand their reasoning 
for such an outcry. Prisons are 
made to employ the unemployable, 
it is a haven for the unskilled, for 
the redneck illiterate to visit his 
hate for anyone who can read a few 
more words than him/her. It is a 
place for the birth of hate/sexual 
fantasies which haunt a mind until 
they become a part of his every 
waking hour, and a ghost that clings 
to his back once he is released, back 
among those who must have hated 
him with the same malice, the same 
vastity, as the dreams which wake 



him in the night, leaving him limp 
with release, at the sight of anger 
exploding in many colors before his 
closed eyes. Prison is a pit of snakes 
waiting for spring to come so that 
they can go forth and spend their 
poison in the waiting veins of 
whoever. It is also the home of self- 
pity, and selfishness, and survival 
at all costs. Yes it is good to sit and 
let my human-ness expand itself 
and replant its roots in the world of 
humans again. Did you know that 
upon receiving your letter I first put 
it to my nose and sniffed it like 
cocaine, breathing deep gulps of its 
humanity, letting it rain its waters 
on my cancerous insides healing me 
and rubbing me back in touch with 
my female humanity, and for the 
first time in many months, I slept 
with my arms wrapped around me 
and I was at peace. 

Thank you, 
F.C. — a Calif, prison 



Processed World 



Dear PW, 

I apologize for replying on this 
1930 Royal, but I have fallen in love 
with it while trying to learn how to 
type. To think that this was once a 
standard office tool, and a means of 
oppression. My, my; how times 
(don't really) change. 

I must agree with most (though 
not all) of what J.S, of Richmond 
says about information processing 
equipment and its relationship to 
humans in the workplace, t don*t 
buy his cottage-industry dream- 
boat. But I do agree that info is 
important to any side (with which 
PW agreed). 

A computer is only a tool, and Itke 
any tool, only as good or bad as the 
purposes to which it is put. A plow 
is a plow is a plow. If you are being 
economically coerced into wielding 
a plow to till the lands of a master 
who owns both land and plow, it is 
oppressive. But should that same 
plow be owned by yourself and used 
to till your own land, that's another 
matter altogether. 

Work sucks. But what are you 
going to do? The problem is with 
the men who own the tools, and the 
relationships they foist upon their 
workers (management included). 
Office work is full of drudgery, as is 
factory work, or any kind of work — 
whether in a corporate-capitalistic 
republic, a military fascist dictator- 
ship, a socialist democracy, or in an 
office in downtown Moscow. As 
distinct from the technology, the 
office situation, with its worker/ 
manager relationships, is not a tool, 
but a form of human organization. It 
is the forms of organization that are 
the problem, not the tools. 

Current technology is no more or 
less insidious than any past tech- 
nology. Using tools positively allows 
humanity to do such incredible 
things as preserve food and escape 
the ravages of the elements. And 
with tools humanity will eventually 
control the so-called ineluctable 



laws of economics (the owners do so 
already). Things do not have to be 
as they currently are. But tools such 
as those commonly found in the 
workplace will be necessary for the 
deconstruction and subsequent re- 
construction of the presiding edi- 
fice. 

Oh, hell; who cares? Let's face it: 
all that deconstruction and recon- 
struction is work. Who needs it? 
The tools are just a taunt, a dare. 
Easier to hang-out and trash out 
their workplace. "If I can't stand 
around and bitch, I don't want any 
part of your revolution." 

My major complaint with PW is 
the way it exploits the natural 
worker/ manager animosity. This is 
an easy shot; the manager is the 
visible "boss." But the trugh, of 
course, is that manager and "wor- 
ker" alike are drones for the oyvn- 
ers. That the owners have exploited 
this animosity between the two 
camps is understandable — any- 
thing but unity among the drones. 
But why does PW agree with the 
owners on this point? Again, seeing 
the commonality of our plight, and 
putting that understanding to daily 
use is work. 

It is fatuous to hold managers 
responsible for upholding the cur- 
rent system, while excusing oneself 
for being a worker on the grounds 
that one has no choice but to work. 
There are far more workers than 
managers; assuming that every hu- 
man being counts the same, the 
workers provide far more support 
for the system than do the mana- 
gers. And in total dollars they pur- 
chase more of the goods the system 
produces, which also supports the 
system. Don't be a cry-baby and say 
you have no choice but to work in an 
office, that's bullshit. The fact is, 
any alternative to the workplace of 
the owners would be even more 
work. This is due to the present 
nature of the system as the owners 
have it designed. But if enough 



Letters 



workers chose an alternative, the 
system would have to change. But 
the prospect of more work inhibits 
any such readjustment. It seems 
effort itself is the culprit. Like I say, 
what are you going to do? 

I enjoyed Tom Athanasiou's piece 
"World Processing: Technology & 
Instability." Clearly, the separation 
of work and income is the answer 
(the question is how). With in- 
creased un- and under-employment 
due to computers and robotics 
(which I feel will be far greater than 
even Tom suggests), will come an 
economic paradox: who will be the 
market for the products these robots 
and computers churn out? For eco- 
nomic (as well as political) reasons 
that should be obvious, the power of 
the owners rests upon a healthy, 
growing economy, which in turn 
rests upon a relatively affluent 
middle-class that can purchase the 
commodities of industry. A mini- 
scule professional and technocratic 
elite will not support such a system. 

If the new technology is seen as a 
matter of labor-saving devices, the 
same wages being paid out for less 
work, the system will remain intact. 
But other than preserving the cur- 
rent system, what economic entice- 
ment does such a view offer? On the 
other hand, if the new technology is 
seen as a means to maximize profits 
— less wages due to less labor — 
economic havoc will result. But this 
is probably what will be required to 
instigate any real change in the 
current system. 

As for myself, I am considering 
starting an open-forum 'zine in the 
Atlanta, GA area. As you are pro- 
bably aware, unlike the Bay Area, 

"Public Poetry" part 1 

No poetry! 

No poets allowed 

Poets speak softly. 

But they scream too loud. 

by Linda Thomas 



Atlanta is no hot-bed of worker 
reform, so I have no intention of 
forcing the zine in that direction 
unless reader response indicates 
such would be accepted. I'll content 
myself with general complacency- 
shattering and mind-opening, let 
whims and stances fall where they 
may. 

Therefore, I am intrigued with 
the production of your publication. 
It is wonderfully layed out. And 
typeset! And has a glossy cover and 
colored ink! and 68 pages worth! 
With no adverts! and all for $1.50! 
Even the savings you make with 
bulk mailing can't account for it. So 
who subsidizes PW? Have you 
actually found a print shop willing 
to publish you for a loss (tax-write- 
off)? Or have you another source of 
funding? Pray tell. I'm beside my- 
self with the projected costs of a 
small-run, plastic plate, typewritten 
zine. So ho\A/ do you do it? (And 
don't tell me it's merely a matter of 
the economies of scale!) 
I Thanks again. Keep up the good 
work, 

G.H. — Macon, GA 

I g&mrally agree with you tliat 
computers are "tools" and can be 
used ^'positively." However, most 
forms Of modern technology can 
clearly not be disassociated from 
the social organization that accom- 
pany their applications {including 
most uses of computers). In other 
words, some tools correspond close- 
ly to the way they are currently 
being used. Part of the danger 
associated with nuclear power is the 
oppressive and hierarchical security 
apparatus that goes along with the 
installation of power plants. Deve- 
lopments in numerical control com- 
puter technology which have been 
applied to automating machine tool- 
ing goes hand in hand with 
workers' alienation and their dis- 
empowerment by management. 



Processed World 



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Furthermore, looking at computers 
simply as "tools" obscures the 
productive process they currently 
involve, i.e. tens of thousands of in- 
tensely exploited workers through- 
out the world. 

It's all very well to speculate on 
how modern technology could be 
used if it was in the right hands, and 
applied to projects of direct social 
value. But the fact remains that 
aside from some significant ad- 
vances in fields such as health care 
and library science {and even here 
there are plenty of examples of 
adverse effects of modern tech- 
nology), the immediate results of 
widespread implementation of 
much of modern technology are dis- 
advantageous to workers and others 
directly affected. I think it is impor- 
tant not to lose sight of the current 
reality of conditions created by 
these tools. 

Although it is true that, in many 
ways, managers are just drones and 
more likely than not as trapped by 
their jobs as workers, their position 
and influence in the office is dif- 



ferent. Managers usually have more 
power over the very details of office 
life that can make the difference 
between a job that is "bearable," 
and one that really sucks. The 
manager is the one responsible for 
enforcing work rules, assuring high 
productivity, punishing workers 
who come in late, etc. Their power 
can be used against the workers, 
and few managers can resist using 
it. In rare cases, humane and sym- 
pathetic managers can use their 
clout to shield and protect workers 
who are "under" them. But be- 
cause they have greater responsi- 
bility — to the owners, to the 
company and its profit rate, they 
usually identify more with the com- 
pany and its interests. 

Workers have a ' 'choice ' ' to make 
— they can act like snitches or 
brown-nosers and undermine their 
co-workers, or they can act in 
solidarity with them, even if the 
choices are rarely that simple and 
clear. Managers also have a choice, 
but often this choice is already 
made by their decision to accept 



Letters 



managerial roles, especially if their 
job includes monitoring and ac- 
counting for the productivity of their 
staff. 

PW keeps above water financially 
because most of the labor that goes 
into publishing, including printing, 
photography, and typesetting, is 
given freely by friends and col- 
laborators. Over the 2V2 years that 
we have been producing the maga- 
zine we have accumulated a lot of 
skills in these areas, so our expen- 
ses are mainly materials like paper 
and ink, and postage. 

Sincerely, 
Maxine Holz 






Dear Processed World, 

I was a secretary for 16 lousy 
years. Then I met Lou and he took 
me away from all that shit. 

Sure, Lou's a little weird, and this 
mask gets so hot that sometimes I 
think I'm going to start shitting my 
bikini panties. So? 

But then I look around at this 
beautiful condo and, hey man — 
I'm loaded on ether from noon on 
(which is when I get up) till 4 in the 
A.M. (which is when Lou usually 
crashes) (the insane sluglike whiff 
brain) and yeah you better believe 
this beats the office job! In spades it 
beats it!! So tell all your readers, 
especially those poor mousy little 
secretaries and file clerks!!! Tell 
those 9-5 gals or gally-slaves to find 
themselves a well-heeled pervert 
like Lou — Kick back — and start 
digging it! 

E.R. — Los Angeles 

P.S. You can always spot the real 
rich sickles like Lou because they 
always want to snort lady "C" out 
of your box on the very first date. 
Just say to them: "How High?" 



Dear PW: 

At first glance, PW came as a bit 
of shock. I have made my living for 
thirty years within the business 
establishment where all complaints 
are carefully swept under the rug of 
"good form." This sanitizing, by 
the way, has the effect of giving the 
misfit the impression of being a 
one-of-a-kind, and therefore abnor- 
mal. 

But upon an unhurried reading of 
issue #7, I realized that you are not 
a bunch of wild-eyed anarchists; 
your readers are sensitive, intelli- 
gent, articulate people who simply 
have the courage to say what we all 
know to be true: that working for 
the establishment is boring and de- 
meaning, and that management is a 
closed society of bull-shit artists 
conning the workers and the public. 
PW makes me realize that my 
long-standing feelings of alienation 
and being exploited are shared by 
thousands (millions?) of the others 
in this great country of ours. 

A little bit about my background. 
Like J.S., I am in computers. After 
20 years of programming and sys- 
tems analysis (whatever that is, and 
yes, 20 years — I'm 51), I realized 
that my skill lies in the area of 
technical communications: writing 
manuals and giving courses. I'm 
particularly interested in the high- 
falutin' language members of both 
the business and computer estab- 
lishments employ to conceal the 
truth and mask the basic emptiness 
of what they appear to be saying. I 

Keep the faith. I look forward to 
reading many more PW's. 

P.M. — New Jersey 
P.S. Yes, I work for Exxon. 




10 



Processed World 




Dear Processed World, 

I've been reading your mag for 
several issues now and find a 
certain amount of affinity with your 
concerns. There are only a few 
other mags that share your concern 
with making changes in everyday 
life. Tabloid, Left Curve, Cultural 
Correspondence and Processed 
World though not immediately simi- 
lar, all share the vision of changing 
this work-a-day life. 

Although your focus "on the job" 
provides a necessary forum for 
"talking back" your basic approach 
could equally apply to "life-time" 
vs. "job-time." What good are 
better jobs, bosses, conditions if a 
person's real life — one's own time 
— is worse than the time at work, 
i.e. IVHY do people actually wanMo 
stay at the office rather than go 
home? 

The time spent on the job, admit- 
tedly the largest block of time in a 
person day, is not the whole day. As 
I'm sure many of you putting Pro- 
cessed World together know — it is 
the time after the job that living 



becomes vital and inspiring. To help 
people recover this vision in spite of 
fatigue, in spite of all the problems, 
in spite of every obstacle, is heroic 
— and I, for one, admire your 
efforts to encourage people to ques- 
tion their perspectives. 

On a slightly different subject — 
computers — I'd like to note an 
analogy between the steam engine 
and computers. It was the steam 
engine and its evolution into the 
gasoline engine that drove the 
industrial era. The new driving 
force is the electrical engine — 
computers. The similarity between 
the rows and rows of data entry 
operators and those of say the rows 
of women seated at sewing ma- 
chines in a garment factory has not 
gone unnoticed. The application of 
technology hasn't changed. Just as 
there were mechanics for the 
steam /gas engine there are now 
programmers and technicians to 
keep these engines going. When 
the steam engine was first intro- 
duced to the public there were those 
that feared its consequences, as 



Letters 



11 



there are those that now question 
computers. However, their fears 
should not be of the technology but 
how and by whom it is used. All 
tools can be used to create a life 
worth living. 

Pleasant Dreams, 
K. — S.F. 



4^^ 




Dear PW folks, 

I've got a few belated responses 
to your "Special Sex Issue" (#7) 
that I'd like to share with you. 

Though I disagree with Holz' 
article and the large number of 
other articles in more orthodox Left 
publications in the USA about the 
issue of sexuality and pornography, 
my disagreement doesn't come frm 
a kneejerk reaction or from tailing of 
the anti-pornography movement. 

The issue which seems to be 
missed by Holz and by both sides of 
the Great Porn Debate within the 
women's movement and the Left is 
that of ideals and ethics in the area 
of sexuality. When talking about 
changing life we have to have some 
idea of what we want to change to, 
as well as what we are changing 
from. What sexual styles should we 
promote and which should we not? 
Which emotional and sexual res- 
ponses are in tune with our ideas of 
the way that the world should be 
which are not? Unless you would 
argue that our loves and sexual 
encounters are outside of our ideas 
about society as a whole (that 
public:private split that seems to 
hold true in the Left generally), in 
which case there is little to be said, 
there are norms that should apply to 
these areas and ideals that we can 
aspire to. 

If all sexual and emotional tastes 
are equally valid, from the most 
stereotypical and traditional hetero- 
sexual-monogamy-from-first-fuck- 



to-death, through homosexual coup- 
ling, tribal, and group, and sado- 
masochist, and onanistic, and so on 
and on, not to skip incest and rape, 
and prostitution, then all attacks on 
any form of pornography are inva- 
lid. If there are invalid forms of 
sexual expression, oppressive 
forms, then material which pro- 
motes those forms is also invalid, 
n 'est pasl 

I think that a good case can be 
made for the feminist idea that 'the 
personal is political' and that our 
personal lives set up the frame- 
works of oppression (typical idea in 
the anarchist movements, too). So, 
if you want to change life, you have 
to change and analyze ALL OF 
LIFE. I believe that a sexuality that 
was based on equality and consent, 
on persons relating to each other 
and themselves as whole and un- 
ique individuals, rather than objects 
interchangeable with other objects, 
as bodies that fit together and were 
all of a part and all erotic, rather 
than just assholes, breasts, vulvae, 
mouths — the parts that the por- 
nographic image takes from the 
body — is a good thing. Sexuality 
that unites one with oneself and 
others rather than making one more 
alone and more alienated, that is 
surely a good thing? 

Why don't we start thinking 
about good living, good loving, 
good sex? Pornography does not 
promote these things. Regardless of 
the images that are presented, and 
some are erotic (not very many, to 
me), this industry is making people 
more alienated from themselves 
and each other by selling their sex- 
uality back to them. That is not a 
good thing. It lies about sex by 
removing it from feeling and ma- 
king it purely a physical action, like 
another technical problem, like 
something an engineer could solve. 
That is not a good thing. It rein- 
forces differences and divisions be- 
tween women and men. And, worst, 



12 



Processed World 



it takes my body away from me and 
tries to sell it back to me. 

I am not sure why the orthodox 
Left hates the anti-pornography 
movement, because, though I re- 
cognize an anti-sex, and anti-male 
tone to some of their pronounce- 
ments, the Left is generally more 
opposed to sex than the anti- 
pornography movement. I think it 
might have to do with the Patri- 
archy, which the A. P.M. believes 
exists and cuts us off from our 
bodies and nature, while the Left 
believes that all oppression is eco- 
nomic. 

I hope PW remains a satisfying 
thing for y'all to publish and that 
you don't succumb to pressure to be 
'just another boring Leftist journal.' 
Love and Kisses, 
S.W. — Toronto 
P.S. Reading Processed World 
seems a bit hypocritical to me, 
cause I'm trying to get an office job 
so that I won't have to work with 
boiling alkaline soap and electrified 
acids in an electroplating plant 
anymore. . . 



4?^^ 




Dear PW: 

When I saw that PW had finally 
published a piece dealing with gay 
issues, namely Stephen Marks' 
"Sex Roles/Social Control," I was 
thrilled. It was the first article I read 
in issue #7. As I read it, I found 
myself nodding in agreement at 
almost every point. But upon fin- 
ishing, I felt somehow disturbed by 
it. I read the article again, but this 
time, instead of nodding my head, I 
found myself thinking "Yes, but. . 
." Several months later, I picked 
the article up again in an effort to 
draw out some of my reservations, 
those nagging "yes, but's." 

I guess the main problem I have 
with the article is that Marks seems 



to see the gay and feminist move- 
ments as passive victims of cor- 
porate/media manipulations to 
spawn new forms of consumption 
and new methods of employee paci- 
fication. The history he presents is 
too neatly packaged, bound in a 
ribbon of cynicism. He ignores op- 
posing strains and breakthroughs in 
the gay and feminist movements. 

Marks sees women as pawns of 
the corporations at every turn. First 
the corporations collude with psy- 
chiatrists and others to keep women 
at home. Then women break 
through, only to reinforce oppres- 
sive stereotypes at the corporate 
workplace. Nowhere in the piece 
does Marks mention the feminists 
critics of Friedanian careerism, or 
feminist efforts to create lives and 
institutions apart from "main- 
stream culture" (whatever that is). 

In a similar way, Marks seems to 
see sexuality not as an innately 
beneficial desire, but as an easily 
preyed upon impulse — a poor sub- 
stitute for "self realization" that is 
used in the same destructive way 
that drugs and alcohol frequently 
are. 

Although I share Marks distaste 
for real estate speculators, I think 
that the urban gay migration and 
the consequent "refurbished inner 
city neighborhoods" are a little 
more complex than the way he pre- 
sents it. He cites the Berube article 
on WWII, but seems to forget that 
the cities were as much a haven in 
the 70's as in the late 40's and 50's. 
Some of the later gay migrants were 
"counter-cultural" types, but many 
were not. This raw accumulation of 
people became the critical mass for 
some vital, heavily textured com- 
munities. Some adapted symbols of 
traditional American culture. But 
symbols do not mean the same 
thing in every context. The sentence 
"Gay marching bands waved Amer- 
ican Flags and gay men lavishly 
squandered their disposable in- 



Letters 



13 




comes on material symbols of main- 
stream status and security" con- 
veys a great deal of more-radical- 
than-thou attitude that skips over a 
meaningful analysis. Besides, I 
happen to have a very good, very 
progressive friend who is in the 
marching band. 

Marks seems to be working 
around a theory of commodif ication, 
i.e. capitalism's ability to turn 
needs into commodities for sale on 
the marketplace. The frequent 
problem with using such a theory is 
that it fails to examine the genesis 
of human needs or how those needs 
can snap around in subversive, 
unexpected ways at the powers that 
be. He implicitly denies the pos- 
sibility of autonomous action in a 
schema that presents people con- 
trolled at every turn by command 
centers of power. In the end, the 



strategy for change that Marks pro- 
poses is the abstract call to "chal- 
lenge sex role stereotyping" and 
"reconsider our relationship" to the 
system of "social manipulation." 
Could Marks' failure to point to- 
wards a more concrete political dir- 
ection be a function of his failure to 
arrive at an understanding of the 
holes and rips, as well as the seams, 
of the present social fabric? 

M.L. — S.F. 



4?^^ 




Processed World: 

Below is a letter written to Lona 
Jensen. . . Individual in a mass of 
lemmings. I'm in NY now and un- 
employed. In 36 years — 18 of them 
working, I can't remember more 



14 



Processed World 



than 2 periods of time in my life 
when I've felt better. 

When I was temping at Levi- 
Strauss one day on line at the "copy 
machine," a young man was beat- 
ing and cursing the machine. The 
effect of this on the "structured 
ones" was that they were "ap- 
palled." It was great. It was per- 
fect. It was magic. He had a flair — 
this free spirit. A gift of displaying 
himself in truth of what he thought 
and felt. The "structured ones" on- 
line thought he was nuts. I knew he 
was. The letter to Lona Jensen was 
written after I was instructed to look 
"professional," shave my legs, etc. 

M.G. — NYC 



Dear Lona Jensen Temporaries: 

Regarding our conversation this 
morning, there is something you are 
overlooking, or just not understand- 
ing. We are all individuals and yet 
are expected to look alike, profes- 
sional, expensive, etc. At 34 years 
of age, I have my own style, my own 
taste and preference. I won't be 
suppressed by "dress codes" which 
can only be another "rule" made to 
be broken. Who has the authority to 
instruct others on how to comb their 
hair or how to dress? Will we all one 
day be instructed on how to think? 
Obviously I think I look fine and am 
quite comfortable. You don't have 
to agree but you should be able to 



sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss 



BRAIN ROT 

when professor T put chalk to board 
he lost his thought 

somewhere in that chip micropuff 

dissolved under the first yellow speck 
on green board ^ j^-^ , 2i . 

he bowed his bristly head and 

looked at stubby fingers 
still clutching chalk 

cuticles smiled 

they weren't telling 

he could not remember why 
board hung stagnant on block wall 

chalk dangled from board 
hand grasped chalk 
warm body ossified 
in 2 shiny leather shoes m 

why 
to 25 squirming students 

he spewed words about books 

he barely recalled titles of 
much less contents 



professor T barely recalled yesterday 
did not remember this morning 

somewhere between 
the collapse of the roman empire 
and rise of postmodernism 
an alarmclock sounded 
he dressed and drove to school 






once 

twice 

for weeks 

months 

years 

eons 

the empire kept collapsing 
the alarm sounding 

he and postmodernism rising 
and brushing their teeth 

papers and books kept coming 
and words 
like empty boxes 

stared 
until one day 
professor T 
drew 
blank 

mind | 

board 
faces behind him 

and as void cannot fill void 
professor T turned slowly 

found that limp muscle 
called a tongue 
parted his lips 

and said 

"class dismissed" 
by Sheila Goodman Brown 



Letters 



15 



accept. Dress codes are for the 
army. I am not in the army. I am an 
individual who prefers if everyone 
does not look alike, think alike or 
smell alike. I am neat, clean and 
have my own way of using clothing. 
This society is losing its individual- 
ity by suppressing one's self in the 
falsity that we should all look alike 
and be comfoted that we all are 
alike. But. We are not. I will not 
conform when it comes to what I eat 
or what I wear. That is me. Not a 
"professional," but a person, ma- 
king my own choices. I will not alter 
my taste to suit another, a cor- 
poration or a fashion of the day. I 
thank you for acknowledging me for 
me. 

— M.G. 






PW— 
2 comments on PW#8: 

a. It wasn't funny, how come? 
Have we all become overwhelmed 
by the external shit? 

b. Referring to Dorthy's poem 
["My Lead at Work", back cover 
#8], I've been in the position of her 
"lead." Chances are, she thinks the 
same way Dorthy does, but Dorthy 
will never know it if she "don't talk 
about anything/When she's there." 

E. — PetalumaCA 



jS^ 

^ 



Dear PW: 

During the past year I have been 
a word processor with over a dozen 
temporary agencies in the Los An- 
geles area. Working through tem- 
porary agencies has its benefits. 
The pay is good (usually $10 to $12 
an hour) and working on a tem- 
porary basis allows me to continue 
in graduate school. The drawbacks 



to this kind of work, however, are 
clear. Living with a ball and chain 
around your leg for seven hours a 
day is a source of tension and strain 
which those who are not subjected 
to It cannot understand. 

The degree of hegemony of the 
word processing systems varies 
from place to place. Although some 
secretaries use the word processor 
as an appendage to their main 
tasks, there seems to be an increa- 
sing tendency to form word proces- 
sing pools (a variation of the typing 
pool). This results in people (usually 
women) being stationed next to a 
word processor for about seven 
hours a day. This form of work is 
dehumanizing, a kind of stationery 
assembly-line. But not only is such 
work dehumanizing, it may be 
hazardous to your health. 

Lately, I have become concerned 
about the possible hidden effects of 
word processing. Several weeks ago 
I began an assignment with a legal 
department of a city in Southern 
California and came across a busi- 
ness card of a sales representative 
for Wang. I had heard that the 
radiation level of Wang was low and 
the sales representative gave me no 
new information when I called him. 
He mentioned tests conducted by 
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
(the people who brought us Three 
Mile Island) and thus whetted my 
appetite for more information. I 
requested more information and her 
referred me to the main office of 
Wang Laboratories in Lowell, Mas- 
sachusetts. I called Lowell and told 
a person in the Product Safety 
Division I wanted more information 
about possible radiation effects. 
The supervisor of the division wrote 
to me, assuring me that Wang 
workstations are (or have been) 
tested for compliance with a num- 
ber of official standards: Under- 
writers Laboratories, UL-144; Can- 
adian Standards Association, CSA 
C22.2 No. 154; and the U.S. Dept. 



16 



Processed World 



of Health, Education and Welfare. 

They sounded very innpressive. 
However, a close reading of the 
articles was unsettling. They dis- 
closed that there are still unan- 
swered questions about long-term 
radiation effects. Although nunn- 
erous studies have been conducted, 
findings still tend to be equivocal. 
Some studies, for example, recom- 
mend that word processors wear 
vests or utilize protective shields. 
And it is recommended that equip- 
ment be thoroughly inspected per- 
iodically for radiation leaks. Fifteen- 
minute breaks are also recom- 
mended for word processors every 
two hours. This type of information 
apparently is not widely distributed. 
In the dozen or so companies I 
worked with this past year none 
advocated such breaks and I saw no 
radiation screens nor word proces- 
sors who wore vests. 

I brought the articles to work and 
the women I work with read them 
and were outraged. One of the 
women who was pregnant had the 
foresight to ask to be transferred to 
non-terminal work when the new 
system was introduced in March. 
[In fact, there have been a number 
of miscarriage clusters in Canada 
and the U.S. among CRT operators 
— Ed. note]. Copies of the articles 
were sent to the union representa- 
tive who will make recommen- 
dations to management. 

We also found out that radiation 
shields which block 95 percent of 
the radiation are available. (A So- 
mashield is such a product. It blocks 
about 95% of the radiation and 
costs about $100.) The union will 
ask management to buy these 
shields for all word processors. 

This office operates democrati- 
cally in terms of scheduling so most 
of the word processors are taking 15 
minute breaks every two hours. 
Initially, this felt self-indulgent, yet 
it is surprising that a back-long of 
work does not result from this 



practice. Moreover, we all agree 
that we do not feel so fatigued at the 
end of the day. 

This experience raises a number 
of questions. Why doesn't Wang 
make it a policy to warn users of 
their systems about possible radi- 
ation effects? The obvious answer is 
that word processing systems are 
cost-effective, particularly in terms 
of personnel time, the largest ex- 
penditure of any organization. 
Wang, as well as other manufac- 
turers, do not readily disseminate 
information about the hazards be- 
cause this would jeopardize the 
profit margin of their product. 

Another question is why manage- 
ment has not investigated the ques- 
tion of radiation more thoroughly. 
Much of this inactivity has to do 
with ignorance. Also, in the final 
analysis, management has histor- 
ically been indifferent to the health 
of workers. 

The ramifications of this problem 
are just beginning to be under- 
stand. More than seven million 
people in this country work at video 
display terminals, and in the next 
few years most offices in this 
country will be automated. This 
means that health hazards will pro- 
liferate. 

Of course it is the responsibility 
of producers of VDTs to ensure that 
the use of their product is not 
hazardous to the user's health and 
safety. And it is just as clear that 
these manufacturers are not willing 
to invest time and research dollars 
because such measures, at least in 
the short-run, do not make money. 
As such, it is incumbent on us who 
are exposed to radiation hazards to 
hold these manufacturers account- 
able. 

If you are interested in protecting 
your health and your rights (closely 
related entities), there are a number 
of organizations you can contact. 
Information about health hazards 
can be obtained from the Los 



Letters 



17 



^^'' 






^^i'i 




We are very in- 
terested in your 
articles, short sto- 
ries, "Tales of 
Toil/' letters, etc. 
Usually the PW 
editorial collective 

comments on things we receive, either verbally or in writing, so a 
dialogue of some sort is sure to ensue. Generally, everything b 
should be typed, double-spaced and preferably in 3-10 copies, b 
Thanks! Also, all you artists out there, send us your graphics!! Q 

SkoOOOOOCCOOOOQOOOOCOCOOOQOCeOCOOOOQOGOOOOSOQOSOQOQOS^ 






Angeles Committee on Occupation 
Safety and Health, (724 South Park 
View, Los Angeles 90057, (213) 
387-7283). If you are interested in 
becoming involved in the issue of 
radiation effects, 9 to 5 [Local 925 — 
SEIU], a national union, is organi- 
zing around this question. 

M.K. — Los Angeles 






Dear M.K. — 

Thanks for the information on WP 
hazards. Some other groups organ- 
izing around VDT hazards are: Bay 
Area VDT Coalition, do LOHP, 
2521 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 
94720; and VDT Committee, Labour 
Council of Metro. Toronto, Rm. 407, 
15 Gervais Drive, Don Mills, On- 
tario. Both groups publish news- 
letters full of latest news in re- 
search, law, and contract develop- 
ments about VDTs. 



One question that immediately 
came up for me was my profound 
skepticism about suggesting people 
turn to unions to solve this type of 
problem. You state in two places, 
almost as an afterthought, that the 
union will make recommendations 
and requests of management to al- 
leviate the problems. Well, did 
they? And if so, what changed, if 
anything, and what qualitative dif- 
ference in daily worklife has been 
achieved? My guess is that things 
aren't that different, but I'd be 
curious to hear what you think now. 
By the way, readers are strongly 
urged to send accounts of any suc- 
cesses they have been part of, in 
addressing office health hazards, 
and how it was done. 

I 'd also like to say that I think it is 
a mistake for office workers con- 
cerned about workplace health haz- 
ards to focus exclusively on the 
potential radiation hazards of VDTs. 
In fact, practically the entire office 
environment is riddled with poison- 
ous substances, not simply CRT 



18 



Processed World 



problems. A focus on radiation 
could lead to a delusion of protest if 
it is convincingly proven that radia- 
tion is not a major problem. A good 
source of information about the full 
range of office health hazards is the 
book Office Hazards by Joel Ma- 
kower {$6.95, Tilden Press), which 
unfortunately fails to address the 
ideology of medicine/disease/ 
health and "acceptable risk" that 
underlies nearly all discussion of 
these subjects. We hope to have 
articles and "Tales of Toil" on the 
medical industry, "processing dis- 
ease and health," in future issues 



WELLS FARGO BANK.n a 



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DATF 



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WHILE YOU WERE OUT 



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— readers are urged to submit 
related material. 

Lastly, I don't think a discussion 
of WP hazards can avoid talking 
about the content of the work. Some 
studies have shown that clerical 
CRT operations are the highest 
stress occupation around, while wri- 
ters who use VDTs have statistically 
rather low stress levels. It beconries 
necessary to look at what is being 
done on these machines, and how 
the entire labor process is organized 
and controlled, in order to begin 
understanding how deep the sour- 
ces of "health hazard" go. In fact, 
we have to look at office work in 
general, its usual purpose in the 
circulation of capital, and the ir- 
relevancy of that "purpose" to 
human well-being. 

Thanks for starting the 
discussion. 

— Lucius Cabins 




Bonus Situation 






m^i. 



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Wf 



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■^1^^ 






■r-^ 



r.?:^sr 




/ would like to say that most, if not 
all, of MESSENGER was taken from a 
notebook that I kept on me at all 
times, and the different "blocks'' 
were more or less taken from this 
notebook,., out of incidents, thoughts 
and so forth, in the course of a day 's 
work. 

Block Five D TRANSITS 

The structural reality of Street- 
Office and Office-Street alike is based 
upon a deliberate and deadening 
linearity and rectilinearity. The city is 
an ordered chaos of square and 
rectangular blocks of various shapes, 
sizes, and combinations, with the only 
variations and breaks assumed by 
arrogant corporate and banking struc- 
tures who only break from the line- 
arity to further sharpen its morbid 
effects, and never as an integral and 
organic element of a larger trans- 
formative area of the city as a whole. 



But the messengers come to know 
another possible set of patterns, 
shapes, and configurations in all this 
mesh of the straight and square. The 
messengers must cut across and 
through the cross-cross and up-down 
structurality of the city in a way that 
changes the sense of visual perspec- 
tive, of the illusion of "solidty" and 
concrete massif ication, and expecially 
of the otherwise dehumanizing effects 
of always keeping to the straight and 
narrow path of linearity, signing or 
walking away one's own freedom 
along dotted lines, on paper or 
cement. The messengers break out 
and rise above this web of mortifica- 
tion by following the principles of 
physics that now tell us that the 
shortest distance between two points 
is not necessarily a straight line. 

So messengers largely come to 
ignore the separation between side- 
walk and autoways, which are blen- 
ded into a single and integral entity — 
the Street. Swerving, weaving, and 



20 



Processed World 



OFFICE HAIKU 

Inside 

Overloaded 

Workday 

Of constant noise 

And paper answers. 

by Miriam Clavir 

jaywalking, the messengers trace out 
a new geometry of curves, zig-sags, 
and odd angles which defy the still- 
dominant linearity. The messengers 
also come to learn of the existence of 
several parallel-universes of Transit, 
spiralling passageways of all kinds 
whose magic always engages the 
young, and which by their challenging 
presence, however limited by their 
creators or intended purposes, hints 
at a possible free city of the future. 

These irregular Transits are, of 
course, represented mainly by the 
Subway system, with its bends and 
even sharp turns, dictated to the 
designers and builders by natural 
configurations in the rockbed base of 
Manhattan island, natural patterns of 
flow and form. Is it any wonder that it 
is the Subway which has attracted, 
magnet-like, that true and liberatory 
expression of Present-day Proletcult, 
the Graffitti artists? 

In addition to the great snaking 
tunnels beneath us, there are also 
several other small examples of non- 
linear and anti-linear eccentricity, 
which receive special attention and 
usage by messengers. These include 
the system of passageways, with 



stores, news-stands, cafes, etc. un- 
derneath Rockefeller Center and en- 
virons, as well as various arcades cut- 
ting through whole blocks and build- 
ings at street level, special above- 
street walkways and foot-bridges 
between structures, and special esca- 
lators and stairways veering up, off, 
and away from their adjoining or 
surrounding archi-textures. 

Block Six D STRUCTIONS 

The entrance swallows you and the 
exit shits you out. Between the two, 
you are digested like a morsel, di- 
vested of your measured labor, and 
processed through a mesh of surveil- 
lance and security. 

Like the castles of the nobility in the 
era of feudalism, the headquarters of 
the corporate-banking-industrial com- 
plex, in the City of the World in our 
own time of crisis, are fortresses of 
fear, fortresses against the living, 
battlements of iron and glass and 
concrete armor to defend against, and 
the crush, the human. Like the castles 
of the past, the architecture of the era 
of Late Imperialism is a hideous 
combination of function and design. 
Just as molten metal or burning oil 
would spit out on the heads of 
attackers from the mouths of ornate 
gargoyles, so today, the latest in 
"high-tech" electronic spying and 
listening devices peeps out from that 
potted plant in the hallway, that junk 
"abstract art" by the elevator, or 
those large mirrored surfaces that 
have become so popular 

The latest innovation in this overall 




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Messenger 



21 



effort is the "friendly environments" 
sometimes called "Atriums," that 
many corporate or banking buildings 
are having built into their first and/or 
second floors. Complete with tran- 
quilizing artificial waterfalls, plastic 
and/or real plant-life, coffee-stands 
and food facilities, as well as seats 
and tables, these places serve several 
functions on behalf of the particular 
interest involved. First of all, em- 
ployees can be induced to take their 
lunch and other breaks here, thus not 
leaving the building and staying 
within reach of the boss. Secondly, 
these places are highly-monitored by 
all kinds of TV and video spy-systems, 
and probably listening-bugging de- 
vices as well, as well as being 
patrolled by both uniformed and 
plainclothes private-security oinkers, 
thus allowing the bosses the option of 
investigating any specific workers, or 
of keeping an eye on the workforce as 
a whole in times of tension, firings, 
strikes, or whatever. Finally, these 
"friendly spaces" are carefully inte- 
grated into the overall para-military 
fortification system which now dic- 
tates much of real estate manipula- 
tion, "city planning," and particular 
architectural-design techniques in all 
the ' ' strategic ' ' central locations of all 
the big cities of the world today. 

This is why there are no longer any 
windows in the first, second, third, 
and sometimes even more floors in so 
many of the new buildings being 
built. This is why your walkman- 
radio, or even your LED watch, will 
be often thrown out of whack when 
you go in or out of the new hi- 
tech/security buildings, as invisible 
probing fingers of special devices 
designed to screen sensitive com- 
puter-complexes tangle with the 
weaker signals of devices carried 
through, or even near, the building. 

The buzzing and beeping of auto- 
matic-locks, the crackling of inter- 
coms, and the hissing of doors with- 
out handles or any other human attri- 
butes, all of these are the burping and 



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farting of an organism which just 
barely tolerates the presence of the 
life-forms it was initially intended to 
serve. 

Like the castles of old, these for- 
tresses against the living are only 
awaiting the cannon of the future, the 
force of the New which turns their 
greatest strength into their greatest 
weakness, their massivity into immo- 
bility, their towers into targets. 

Block Eleven D END-COUNTER II 

On the corner of 57th street and 
Madison avenue, where the effete 
elite meet and excrete, a symbolic 
cataclysm has just erupted, and mag- 
netically pulls on everyone in the 
immediate area, congealing a crowd 
which soon draws yet more of the 
curious. 

This Mini-Apocalypse is the de- 
struction of a traffic light by a gigantic 
yacht, being towed on a special 
wheel-carriage over to the annual 
boat show at the Coliseum on the west 
side. Pieces of the rigging from the 
deck of the yacht are entangled with 
the fragments of traffic light, more 
surrealistic than any indulgence by 
poseur-artistes. Around this tangle 
gather rich women in fur-coats, busi- 
nessmen and the usual number of 



22 



Processed World 



messengers and other proletarians and 
street people. The divisions of class 
and status are immediately stamped 
on the faces of all present, as they 
gaze upon this bii^^arre wreckage. All 
the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie 
bemoan the "loss of property," the 
disruption, the mess on "their" 
street. All the proletarians and lum- 
pen-proletarians alike find uplift and 
even joy in the sight. The negation of 
apparently-fixed objects of control 
(the traffic-lamp) by, through, and 
with the simultaneous negation of 
apparently-inviolate commodities for 
the super-rich (the yacht) is beautiful 
truth and true beauty at once. The 
vulnerability of this material world of 
things is hope, and life's hope, for the 
world of the living and the human. 

Block Fourteen D TWIST OF FATE 

The worse nightmare of the mes- 
senger is the run where he is deliver- 
ing an envelope containing the means 
of his own undoing. 

The manila envelope that he is 
rushing crosstown or uptown or down- 
town with is carrying the eviction 
notice from the landlord that will 
throw the messenger out into the 
street, his workplace. The manila 
envelope contains the pink-slip from 
his employers that will now end this 
job and force him to look for another. 
The envelope encloses a medical 
report that will condemn the messen- 
ger to a lifetime of illness. The 
envelopes carry letters from one great 
power to another that will involve 
him, unwittingly, in sordid intrigues 
which will seal his fate. The envelope 
contains a message which concludes 
with the inexplicable, but irrever- 
sible, command to eliminate all traces 
of itself, including the one who 
delivered it . . . and so it goes 

But what are all these nightmares 
of the messenger but the imagined 
and concentrated expression of the 
daytime and night-time reality of ALL 
forms of exploited labor in this exploi- 



tation-based society, in this Civiliza- 
tion of Exploitation? 

In fact, the messenger is always 
delivering the means of his or her 
undoing, even if only in the smallest 
ways. Every message is stained with 
one tiny drop of blood, and the 
immensity of delivered packages and 
envelopes and commodity-forms of all 
kinds is a sea of life's blood, flowing 
from the exploited walk-work of the 
small army of messengers, and into 
the ocean of blood of all the world's 
exploited and oppressed and enslaved 
labor, down through history. 

And all this world's work, all of 
humanity's toil, and all the commod- 
ity-forms of that labor, are marked 
with that same mark, and even where 
workers, or workers and their true 
allies, already rule. 

And this is the terrible truth of all of 
our lives, until the Emancipation and 
Equalization of the whole of this 
suffering world. 



by Jonathan Leake 

Full text of 20 "blocks'' available 
from the author: c/o G.P.O. Box 1643, 
New York, NY 10116. 




The All-New Monei/Droid!: when shop- 
ping, don't go without your MoneyDroid... 
Pull him out and let him pay the bills with 
his credit card. Never pay for anything 



again 



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THE WALLING 

OF 
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i. by Bradley Rose 

I hree years ago I spent a few days 
in a mountain wilderness with two 
friends. We wanted to "do a sweat" 
and so we set to work at building a 
sweat hut. After choosing a flat site 
along a stream, we began to collect 
boughs for supports, wood for a fire, 
rocks for heating, and so on. We used 
the renewable resources at hand and 
a sheet of plastic we brought from 
home. We bent and tied boughs to 
form a dome-shaped ribcage over 
which we stretched a plastic skin. 

At each stage of construction, we 
had to make choices. What should we 
do first? How many ribs did we need? 
What kind of rocks were best to use? 
Who would get wood for the fire? We 
sensed or came to agreement on all 
issues and we had several rejuvenat- 
ing sweats during our stay in the 
mountains. 

The days were mild, broken by 
afternoon showers. Inside our sweat 
hut, seated around a small pit of red 
hot, steaming rocks, sitting close on 
grass which we had sprinkled with 



sage, we talked and chsmted and 
hushed to hear the thunder. We had 
combined our architectural prowesses 
into something that was mutually 
satisfying. Moreover, our sweat hut 
didn't impose upon others since it was 
only a provisional reorganization of 
time and space. It was acceptably 
"rough around the corners," richly 
sensual, and celebratory— like us. 
As that experience settled into my 
memory, I began to examine how the 
space surrounding me was shaped 
and defined, who made such de- 
cisions, and with what intentions. 

ARCHITECTURE AND POLITICS 

I define architecture as behavior 
(i.e., thinking, acting, building, 
choosing, burning, etc.) by which 
space and time are structured for 
future use. This definition is deliber- 
ately broad in that it recognizes that 
all people, not just a professional 
elite, are capable of structuring 
space. If we remove a door within our 
home, if we use space on the office 



24 



Processed World 



desk to grow herbs or display photos 
of loved ones, if we make a garbage 
can of the street, or if we simply leave 
a space and time untouched— we are 
making architectural choices. 

How such choices are made is a 
political as well as architectural mat- 
ter. The architect, professional or not, 
limits possibilities, channels tenden- 
cies, concentrates resources to facili- 
tate certain kinds of activities (and not 
others). Architecture, to a large ex- 
tent determines how people will in- 
teract with each other and their 
environment. The predomin£int role of 
professionals in architecture — as in 
most other spheres of life— is a recent 
development. Until the Industrial Re- 
volution, only royalty and organized 
religion needed or could afford the 
services of professional architects. 
Most people met their architectural 
needs by drawing on communally 
held science and tradition. 



When I returned to San Francisco 
from my mountain experience, the 
professional, modern architecture in 
my day to day life seemed even more 
miserable and inadequate than it did 
before. I labored in offices perma- 
nently sealed against fresh air and 
sunlight, rain, animal life and all the 
other "snares and snakepits" of na- 
ture. I ventured into streets made cold 
and windy by highrise aerodynamics. 
I was hoisted up to work in 'elevators' 
as one of the human units which 
measured an elevator's capacity. 
Phone booths for single people, rest- 
aurants with parking lots and family 
accommodations, "men's rooms" 
and "ladies' rooms," public parking 
garages, hallways— even doors 
(glass, locked, automatic, front and 
back) — all presupposed and at- 
tempted to facilitate and perpetuate 
certain planned human relationships. 

San Francisco's corporate architec- 




The Walling of Awareness 



25 



ture institutionalizes the most un- 
imaginative uses of form, color, tex- 
ture, taste, smell and other sensory 
qualities. It is designed to be un- 
appreciable to human taste, hearing, 
smell and touch. It shows a bias to- 
ward what can be mass-produced, for 
high-tech precision and engineering, 
for mirrory smooth surface, for metal, 
concrete and glass, and fo/ uncom- 
promising uniformity or regularity. 
Environments based on sensory de- 
privation result. 

With my wilderness trip still fresh 
in my memory, I asked myself: what 
is the value system behind modern 
design and what are its underlying 
messages? I began to pay more atten- 
tion to the effect of architecture on my 
own life. From the architecture itself 
emerged a pattern of messages and 
values shaped by the consciousness of 
industrialized people. 

In San Francisco, new buildings are 
meant to be as permanent as possible. 
They are erected without regard either 
for people who live and work in the 
vicinity or for future generations. 
Through these buildings, developers 
attempt to colonize the future. Al- 
though this has characterized monu- 
mental architecture in all ages, only in 
modern times has the secular corpor- 
ate world utilized the symbolism of 
monumental architecture. Right up to 
modern times, civilizations symbol- 
ically established their own perma- 
nence in stone. By its sheer size and 
timelessness, such architecture 
seemed to convey the impression that 
the status quo would last through 
eternity. Corporate modern architec- 
ture seeks to do the same. 

Modern building materials are 
largely made of nonrenewable re- 
sources in limited supply from the far 
parts of the world— steel, aluminum, 
copper and petroleum. Oil and gas are 
used to perfect other raw materials 
into building-quality glass, steel £md 
concrete. Oil and gas are also used to 
hoist, weld, press, fit, bore and 
otherwise erect San Francisco's 




buildings. I used to eat my bag 
lunches on the windy and cold ter- 
races of 3 Embarcadero Center, 
watching resources from all over the 
world concentrated into 4 Embarca- 
dero Center across the street. 

INDUSTRIALISM ON THE 
DRAWING BOARD 

Through the 19th century the ma- 
chines created to mine, traverse, 
smelt, and manufacture affected the 
way reality was perceived. People 
could not ignore the sudden and over- 
whelming presence of machinery. 
With railroads, canals, bridges and 
the telegraph, people broke through 
spatial and temporal barriers. New 
materials— such as steel and rub- 
ber—and new technical aids to pro- 
duction—such as control of electric 
and steam power— seemed to make 
many traditions obsolete. Many phi- 
losophers who were born to that world 



26 



Processed World 



were inspired by the power of con- 
temporary machinery. Machine oper- 
ation metaphorized their experience 
and convinced them that 'civiUzed 
man' could master nature. He had 
learned to release and harness the 
power stored in oil, gas and coal; with 
nitroglycerin (1847) and dynamite 
(1866) he blasted his way through 
mountains. Amid so much progress, 
industrial men showed an unpre- 
cedented self-confidence. They no 
longer felt bound to hold sacred what 
Nature through her "wiles" had 
created. Men leveled forests, bred 
meatier cattle and sturdier corn, and 
'reclaimed' wilderness and waste- 
land. To them the 20th century repre- 
sented a new era, not only man-cen- 
tered and man-bound, but man-con- 
trolled. 

' 'The era of the great mechanized in- 
dividuals has begun and all the rest is 
palaeontology. 
— Umberto Boccioni, 1912 

Radical artists and architects, such 
as the Futurist Boccioni, were among 
those who dreamed of a world re- 
structured by industry. Architecture 
became more and more a subject for 
conversation, discussion, debate, di- 
atribe . . . and manifesto. The sup- 
porters of industrialism confronted 
the old traditions. Fantastic and un- 
precedented architectures and radical 
theorems were published during the 
early 20th century. Adolf Loos, an 
Austrian architect, equated ornament 
with crime. Bruno Taut, an Expres- 
sionist, pictured dazzling, jeweled 
cities in watercolor. Antonio 
Sant'Elia, a Futurist architect whose 
work rarely got beyond the drawing 
board, apotheosized grand dams, 
monumental train stations, colossal 
power factories and megalithic apart- 
ment blocks. On the surface, these 
fantasies seem various and funda- 
mentally personal, but they all shared 
a vision of a wholly new world, built 
and controlled by industrial Man. 



New schools of modem design were 
established in Austria, Germany, 
Italy, Holland and Russia. Many of 
the "architects" in these schools had 
little to show of their work other than 
manifestos, sketches, gmd slogans, 
but over these they attacked and 
counter-attacked each other and 
formed alliances. These architects 
equated the value of their visions with 
their appropriateness to an indust- 
rially restructured world. 

As Theo van Doesburg, a radical 
modernist from the Dutch de Stijl 
school, asserted with millenariEm bra- 
vado in 1922: 

"All that we used to designate as 
magic, spirit, love, etc. will now be 
efficiently accomplished. The idea of 
the miraculous, that primitive man 
made so free with, will now be real- 
ized simply through electric current, 
mechanical control of light and water, 
the technological conquest of space 
and time. " 

SOCIALISM: ONE WORKER 
EQUALS ANOTHER 

' 'The individual is losing signifi- 
cance; his destiny is no longer what 

interests us. ' ' 
— Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1932 

The radical architects, like so many 
other people of the late 19th and early 
20th centuries, were possessed with 
the promise of social-isms. In m£my of 
these social-ist schemes, the heinous 
extreme between the plight of the 
poor and the luxury of the wealthy 
was attributed to individual excess. 
Many of the social-ist architects of the 
early 20th century — and in Europe 
nearly all the formative modern arch- 
itects referred to themselves as so- 
cialists—assumed the task of design- 
ing an urban, worker-oriented world 
which reflected and reinforced their 
anti-individualist attitude. 

Around 1920, for exsimple, the 
Swiss-born architect and painter Le 



The Wailing of Awareness 



27 




Corbusier designed "A Contempor- 
ary City for 3 Million Inhabitants." 
The inhabitants were to be housed in 
rows of identical highrises conven- 
iently connected to their places of 
work. He did not have any particular 3 
million individuals in mind; he de- 



signed his city for a co-conscious, 
worker-identified society. 

The influential German architect 
Muthesius in 1911 also echoed the 
principles of popular social-isms: 

''In modern social and economic or- 



28 



Processed World 



ganization there is a sharp tendency 
to conformity under dominant view- 
points, a strict uniformity of indi- 
vidual elements, a depreciation of the 
inessential in favor of immediate es- 
sentials. And these social and econo- 
mic tendencies have a spiritual af- 
finity with the formal tendencies of 
our aesthetic movement. ' ' 

Guided by such "formal tendencies" 
the fantastic sketches of the early 20th 
century looked more alike and less 
fantastic by the mid 1920s. Elements 
of design which could be labeled 
individual or eccentric were ridiculed 
by the cliques of architects and de- 
signers who had bemded together 
under the flag of industriahsm. 

The history of the "State Bauhaus" 
school in Weimar shows how mo- 
dernist architecture was shaped by 
conformist pressures. After the de- 
vastation of WWI, GermEuis hoped to 
rebuild Germany through industrial 
production. To meet the need for in- 
dustrial designers, Walter Gropius's 
Bauhaus opened in 1919. A unique 
feature of the early Bauhaus was its 
liberating preliminary course, con- 
ceived and elaborated by Johannes 
Itten. In this course, apprentices were 
encouraged "to start from zero" and 
to express their "inner voice." But in 
1923 Gropius scrapped the prelimin- 
ary course and yielded to industrigd- 
ist-socialist dogma. In order to fi- 
nemce the Bauhaus he needed to 
appease government and private en- 
terprise, and leaders in both groups 
pushed for social-ist industrialization. 

Gropius's Bauhaus had been criti- 
cized by Le Corbusier and van Does- 
burg who were seen by many as the 
leading Art formulators of the day. In 
1922-23, Theo van Doesburg hunself 
settled in Weimar near the Bauhaus. 
He took credit for turning the Bau- 
haus curriculum away from handi- 
crafts and individualism. "At Weimar 
I have overturned everything . . . " he 
wrote. "I have talked to the pupils 
every evening and I have infused the 



poison of the new spirit everywhere . . 
. , I have mountains of strength and I 
know that our notions will be vic- 
torious over everyone and every- 
thing." At the same time, Le Cor- 
busier was working (that is, writing) 
out of France. Le Corbusier had 
formulated the "scientific laws" of 
industrial expression: 

"Nothing justifies us in supposing 
there should be any incompatibility 
between science and art. The one and 
the other have the common aim of re- 
ducing the universe to equations 

The work of art must not be acciden- 
tal, exceptional, impressionistic ... 
but on the contrary, generalized, 
static, expressive of the invariant. ' ' 

To him, the dominance of simple 
rectangularity characterized the in- 
dustrial style: 

* 'If we go indoors to work . . . the office 
is square, the desk is square and 
cubic, and everything on it is at right 
angles [the paper, the envelopes, the 
correspondence baskets with their 
geometrical weave, the files, the 
folders, the registers, etc.] ... the 
hours of our day are spent amid a 
geometrical spectacle, our eyes are 
subject to a constant commerce with 
forms that are almost all geometry. " 

Gropius planned a Bauhaus ex- 
hibition in response to criticism and 
industrial pressure. The theme of the 
exhibition was "Art and Technolo- 
gy—A New Unity," in which the in- 
fluences of van Doesburg and Le 
Corbusier were obvious. At the same 
time, Gropius suggested that artists 
should wear conventional clothing— 
that is, business dress. The Bauhaus 
opened a department of worker archi- 
tecture and Bauhaus students pro- 
duced volumes of genre drawings 
which imitated the many other im- 
personal drawings then circulating 
around Europe. 

Before the Bauhaus closed in 1933 



The Waiiing of Awareness 



29 



the new industrial style had become 
well established in Europe. It was 
characterized by a rational, imper- 
sonal, systematic approach to archi- 
tecture in which standardized "work- 
er needs" were met with mass-pro- 
duction technology. Efficient hier- 
archical social organization was its 
basic goal. Emotional expression and 
ornament— which purportedly inter- 
fered with efficiency— gave way to 
simple geometries in black and white. 
This modern style was also character- 
ized by what seemed (to any West- 
erner) to be its international base; 
afterall, it had developed simultane- 
ously and under similar conditions 
throughout industrial Europe. And 
so, in 1932, when H.-R. Hitchcock and 
Philip Johnson arranged the first ex- 
hibition of this style in the US— 
at the New York Museum of Modern 
Art— they called it the 'International 
Style', a label which persists to this 
day. Through the International Style 
Exhibition, Americans saw that the 
principles by which their cars and 
factories were designed would also 
shape their homes, shops and 
schools. 

In the late '30s many of Europe's 
modern architects (Gropius, Mies van 
der Rohe, Marcel Breuer) emigrated 
to the US where they further in- 
fluenced the development of modem 



architecture. Gropius, for example, 
was asked to teach at Harvard in 1937 
and the following year, he beceune 
chairman of its architecture depart- 
ment. By then it was obvious that the 
new style was no mere fad. American 
capital financed its development in 
the US. By the end of WWII, modem 
architectural style emerged preemi- 
nent. 

The socialist principles which 
shaped the development of modem 
architecture— the suppression of in- 
dividual expression, domination over 
Nature, time-efficiency, and mass- 
production— served Americ£in cap- 
italism as well as it had served the 
social-ists in Europe. Mies van der 
Rohe, for exgunple, welcomed a com- 
mission to design a 'communist' 
monument, but when he became 
director of the Bauhaus he expelled 
communist students because it was 
expedient under the Nazis to do so; he 
designed a Reichsbank for Hitler 
(whose personal tastes thwarted the 
advance of Bauhaus-type architecture 
in Nazi Germany) and then designed 
school buildings, apartment towers, 
and corporate highrises for American 
business. Gropius asserted the inter- 
national quality of modem architec- 
ture in the '20s, designed Nazi ex- 




30 



Processed World 



hibition structures in the '30s, and 
tried to persuade Goebbels that mo- 
dern architecture was not anti-Nazi 
(but failed— again because of Hitler's 
personal stsmce). Whether under the 
state socialists or the capitalists, the 
social reorganization necessitated by 
industrial production was facilitated 
by modernist, social-ist architecture. 

TOWARDS RADICAL CRITICISM 

Not surprisingly, a body of pro- 
fessional criticism has developed in 
response to modern architecture, but 
very little of it penetrates to the 
deeper flaws. Most critics examine 
modern architecture as one would 
examine an exhibit of paintings in a 
museum: they write about the "arti- 
culation of light" and the "thingness 
of the brick" and they ignore the 
hostile reality of the modem design in 
which human beings live, work, buy 
and die. 

Some critics have rejected the 
visual austerity of "Manhattaniza- 
tion"— the concentration of mega- 
lithic office slabs in urban financial 
centers. Responding to such criticism, 
some architects began in the 1970s to 
design highrises with 'old-fashioned' 
decorations; condos with 'Victorian' 
ornament; and buildings with unusual 
shapes. This trend has been promoted 
as a new, visually stimulating style, 
called Post-Modernism. But the Post- 
Modernist call to bygone traditions is 
superficial. The fancy wooden scroll- 
work of new 'Victorians' no longer 
reflects the pride and talent of crafts- 
men. It is the soulles imitation of the 
craftsman's art, turned on factory 
lathes. In fact, the spirit of Post- 
Modernism is that of modernism 
itself. It incorporates the same biases 
as modernism— biases toward the 
same building materials and methods 
. . . toward a-sensuality . . . colonization 
of space and time ... 'sanitization' of 
nature ... coercive preplanning of 
human activities and relationships ... 
and professionalization. Modernism 



also prevails over architectural "pre- 
servation." When civic groups de- 
mand the preservation of an older and 
noteworthy building in cities such as 
San Francisco, nothing more than the 
facade gets preserved. Behind the 
facade, both literally and figuratively, 
modernism holds its grovmd. 

A meaningful criticism of eirchi- 
tecture therefore must rise from 
something more substantial than 
"what it looks like." Modem archi- 
tecture, for instgmce, has had many 
notable technical failures. Peter 
Blake, in Form Follows Fiasco, cites a 
number of the technical shortcomings 
of modern buildings— such as Bos- 
ton's John Hancock Tower which 
dropped 10,000 of its windows into 
the streets below. Gross technical 
failures are inherent to modem archi- 
tecture. When building materials are 
mass-produced, so also are their 
flaws. The same is true of construc- 
tion methods. 

A radical analysis of modem archi- 
tecture examines the inherent mes- 
sages and values from which modem 
architecture is formulated and which 
it perpetuates. Modem architecture 
reveals itself as a censoring expres- 
sion, as a message of social control. 
Every modern building says: "You 
are not qualified to build for yourself. 
Your individual feelings have no 
significance in the structuring of 
common space. Your needs have been 
decided for you. The scope of your 
existence is circumscribed by profes- 
sional preplanning. You are accom- 
modated as shopper flow, floor usage, 
occupant, worker, etc. Your sensitivi- 
ty and sensuality have no bearing on 
architectural concerns." Whether we 
live in a condo, use a men's room, or 
adapt to the office, we experience 
modern architecture as a subliminal 
lesson in industrialism. 

The "modern" architecture of the 
near future is likely to look extremely 
different than what we're used to. As 
supplies of cheap oil run dry, pro- 
fessional technoarchitects are looking 



The Walling of Awareness 



31 



to new building materials and me- 
thods. Transnational corporations are 
financing research into bio-engineer- 
ing —the manipulation of genetic 
material in order to "manufacture" 
new, "living" materials, fuels, and 



processors. The modern architects 
have a passion for "dead" building 
materials— concrete, glass, steel, and 
they control them with intimidating 
effect. But with the technology of bio- 
engineering, the future architects can 




Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Bauhaus socialist, Nazi 
opportunist, the darling of American capitalism. . . 



32 



Processed World 



shape living as well as dead matter. 
Under such circumstances, the final 
distinction between life and mani- 
pulable matter may well be obliter- 
ated. Bio-engineered architecture 
may look substantially different than 
that of today, but social control will 
likely remain its predomingmt func- 
tion. 

PROSPECTS 

The modern architects designed 
clean and inexpensive dwellings for a 
mass-produced world. In so doing, 
they provided a more healthful alter- 
native to tenement living. They de- 
veloped an architectural ethos and 
aesthetic in which the common worker 
received particular care and attention. 
But the spirit of modem architecture 
has run its course. We recognize that 
modern architecture does not promote 
individual, subjective worth; that its 
monumental aspects intimidate more 
than they inspire; that social control— 
and not free and willful cooperation— 
is its underlying motive; and that it is 
ecologically unsound. These charact- 



erizations expose values by which we 
can examine the appropriateness of 
various architectural schemes to a 
free society. An architecture of the 
richness and scale of human being 
need not be limited to small struc- 
tures. The range of human sensitivity 
includes an appreciation of grandeur, 
of monumental symbolism, of awe- 
someness. Today's corporate archi- 
tecture is, ironically, as close as 
modern architecture comes to such 
expression. 

I once saw a grafitto on the rear 
wall of a San Francisco supermarket 
which read: THE WALLS HAVE 
EARS. It was a redefinition of that 
wall— of the idea of the wall— as com- 
mon space for social uses— in this 
case, an exchange of information. 
Walls are not just walls: they are 
functions. They retain hills, obstruct 
passage, contain space, suggest the 
containment of space, invite the curi- 
ous, support color, etc. We can begin 
to think in these terms— not of what 
architecture is, but what it does; to 
see architecture as behavior £ind as 
consciousness made manifest. 













Translating Your 
Company Newsletter 



Recently, in an attempt to rescue the 
sinking morale of employees in a time of 
widespread layoffs within the company, 
the top executives held a series of 
employee briefing sessions. Below are 
some of the questions employees asked, 
together with management's answers, 
followed, in turn, by translations into 
plain language. 

Question: What is the purpose of this 
meeting? 

Answer: While employee communica- 
tions meetings have been held in the 
past, this meeting marks the renewal of 
management's committment to man- 
agement/employee communications. 
Translation: We've neglected to talk to 
you for the past several years, but 
things are so bad now we had to do 
something. 

Question: In the face of the current 

economic pinch, what direction will our 

company take? 

Answer: We have two major goals. 

First, to become more trim and flexible 

in our operations. Second, to resize our 

operations to the level of profitable 

market opportunities. 

Translation: We're going to lay some 

more people off. 



Question: What steps are being taken to 
ensure career development for us as 
employees? 

Answer: What the company offers each 
of us is an opportunity to utilize our 
talents and develop new skills. And it is 
up to each of us to take advantage of 
that opportunity. The challenges we 
face today have never been greater. If 
you're willing and able to tackle them, 
there continue to be good opportunities 
for growth, self-satisfaction and career 
development. 
Translation: You're on your own. 

Question: Has the company look at cost- 
cutting measures like elimination of the 
executive dining room? 
Answer: The dining room is considered 
to be an accepted way of conducting 
business and is, in fact, judged to be a 
cost-effective program. 
Translation: We're not giving up our 
dining room. 

Question: As a result of recent layoffs, 
severe morale problems exist among 
employees. The company has made 
what seems to be little or no effort to 
help improve morale. Does manage- 
ment plan to address the morale prob- 
lem? 

Answer: We are sensitive to the prob- 
lem and I think the problem has been 
the uncertainty of the environment 
during the past 12 months. I think 

continued on page 36 



^^^^^^ 



IS HEREBY CERTIFIED A6 

• For the relentle 
^ For refusing to 

• For having bett 

• For retaining c 
whelming oppo 

• For having a pe 
all forms of aut 

For these and 
havior, the bearer c 
in the form of act 
certificate holders, 
gablx; undermininc 






AVING A BAD ATTITUDE: 



theft of time from emplo\;ers... 

ess For Success.,. 

things to do than work... 

itive energy in the face of over- 
on... 

'tually mistrustful relationship with 
ity... 

ntless other types of subversive be- 
ds certificate is entitled to solidarity 
and moral support from all other 
d thousands of others, all indefati- 
3 present global ''order. '' 



m 



.'»' 



^^ 



;2*XJ 



36 



Processed World 



things are getting better. High morale 
comes internally, when people enjoy 
what they're doing. As we better 
structure the organization, hopefully 
morale will improve. 
Translation: It's not our fault you're 
depressed, it's the economic situation. 
We don't know what to do, but we're 
hoping the problem will go away. 

Question: A structured communication 
like this one could have been helpful to 
employees during the past 12 months of 
uncertainty. Is this meeting indicative 
of a consistent intention to inform 
employees of matters affecting their 
work environment, or is it just a 
one-time thing? 

Answer: We plan to continue these on 
an ongoing basis. Employees are also 
reminded of the company's long-stand- 
ing "open-door" policy. Talk to your 
supervisors and others about your con- 
cerns. 

Translation: We'll probably forget the 
whole thing after this all blows over. 
Communication is really your respon- 
sibility anyway. _ ^y Peter Martin 




What's a Word Processor? 

A Duplex Planet 
Special Interview 

Interviews conducted by David B. 

Greenberger at the 

Duplex Nursing Home 

Harold Farrington: He makes words out 
of other words. Like did can say did 
backwards, d-i-d. 

Bemie Reagan: A person who under- 
stands and knows so many words and so 
much English. 

Andy Legrice: Processor? Producer — 
producin' the progress, progress ahead. 
Progressin'. 



Bill Niemi: It's some kind of a new 
machine, isn't it, that was invented to 
put words in their correct place, so 
people can understand them properly. 
Sometimes it's hard to read printing. 
Frank Wisnewski: I never heard of that 
word, so I can't help you out. I thought 
you said 'prostitute' at first. I don't 
know what that word means though. I'd 
like to help you out, but I'm not college 
material like Johnny Fay. I know a little, 
but not a lot. 

John Fay: I don't know. I don't know if 
it's somethin' to drink or eat or what. 
Harry Katz: Profound, they're pro- 
found. 

George Stingel: To process words, to 
break it down. To process a man is to 
get rid of him from the service, to let 
him go — it's a discharge from the 
services — army, navy, coast guard. 
Ernie Brookings: A word processor 
would be to arrange words to express 
past events and thoughts, is that true? 
It could be verbally or written. 
Ed Rogers: Somebody that discusses 
words, on a subject, like a debate. 
John Fallon: Somebody that figures out 
things. He figures out the cost of 
everything, he's a processor. 
Gene Edwards: I never even heard of it 
before, so how can I tell you what it is? 
You're not gonna write THAT down, are 
you? 

Ed Poindexter: Obviously I don't know 
at the present. Is everything alright? 
Can I have a cigarette? 
Abe Surgecoff: A guy that works at the 
city hall and watches out for the work to 
be done. He attends to processes 
around the office. The processor is like 
a judge, but don't write that down. 
Francis McElroy: It's one that gains, a 
prospector. 

Walter Kieran: That means somebody 
that done something. 
William *'Fergie" Ferguson: One that 
measures gold. He doesn't make it, it's 
already made — he finds it. It isn't 
glued together or anything, it's just 
gold, g-o-l-d. 



DOWNTIME! 



37 



Private Computers' Income Data 
to Aid IRS in Hunt for Evaders 



The Internal Revenue Service is about 
to test whether computerized informa- 
tion about the lifestyles of American 
families can be used to identify indivi- 
duals who fail to pay their income tax. 

The information includes the neigh- 
borhoods in which families live, how 
long they have lived there and the 
model and year of the cars they own, 
and will be supplied by the private 
marketing companies that sell com- 
puterized lists to direct-mail concerns, 
among others. For some time, these 
marketing companies have been com- 
piling income estimates from such data, 
using the publicly available records of 
telephone companies, motor vehicle 
departments and the Census Bureau. 

If the new computerized procedure to 
target those Americans who pay no 
taxes is successful, the IRS has a second 
experiment in store, to determine 
whether the same procedures can be 
used to spot those who underpay their 
taxes. 

The attempt to use lifestyle informa- 
tion to estimate the annual incomes of 
households, and thus help the revenue 
service select individuals for further 
investigation, reflects the agency's in- 
creasing concern about the growth in 



the number of Americans who are 
failing to pay their taxes. 

According to the latest Government 
report on income tax compliance, the 
number of individuals and corporations 
not paying income taxes has been 
gradually increasing in recent years. 
Individuals who did not file any income 
tax returns in 1981, for example, are 
estimated to have reduced Government 
revenues by about $3 billion that year. 
In 1973, such individuals are estimated 
to have owed the government about $1 
billion. 

The service estimated that in 1981 the 
total of taxes underpaid by corporations 
and individuals engaged in legal activi- 
ties was $81.5 billion. 

The report added that the percentage 
of all income voluntarily reported de- 
clined from 91.2 percent in 1973 to 89.3 
percent in 1981, more than two-tenths 
of a percentage point a year. 

The new attempt to fmd what the IRS 
calls "nonfilers" is made possible by 
the increasing power of Government 
and commercial computers to store 
enormous amounts of information and 
to manipulate this information at a very 
small cost. 

The information used by the private 
companies to estimate the annual in- 
comes of individual households is all 
legally available. The sources of the 
data are telephone books, the automo- 




38 



Processed World 



POEM TO A LEAKING SHIP NOT SUNK 

the crest of the wave 
the vault of the sky 
leave me breathless; 
the chicken of the sea 
leaves me with heartburn 
if over-seasoned 

but let us not speak of such drivel 

at such a momentous time 

when our minds should be occupied 

with the Great Challenge which sits before us 

in the form of a mocking parrot who repeats, over and over 

"Give me mellon, or i will make such a mess!" 

the great buildings of our cities 

the great advances of our age 

instill me with such wonder; 

but how i tremble before 

that awful thing we have made 

which may destroy us; 

and if we survive American television 

we will have only the bomb to fear 

i do not dread abandonment 

or confinement in love's great potato sack 

to be smothered by your solicitous doting, 

but your quivering thighs i do fear 

inside them i could almost 

exile myself for good, never coming out 

taking all my nourishment there; 

how tiresome for you 

if i am not sensible, contradict me 

if i am inefficient, instruct me 

if i am irresponsible, chastize me 

if i am indifferent, shake me 

but if i fail to make money, leave me be: 

this means i have found a profitless joy 

which capitalism must despise 

and i am content 



by Ron De La Houssaye 

bile registration files from the 30 or so 
states where they have been declared a 
public record, and statistical informa- 
tion about the average incomes of the 
families living in different census tracts, 
which is compiled and published by the 
Census Bureau every decade. The in- 
come information compiled by the 
bureau is supplied by the individuals 
and families counted. 



There are more than a dozen com- 
panies currently producing computer- 
ized lists of American households, their 
addresses and their esfimated income. 
The three largest companies reportedly 
are The Reuben H. Donnelley Corpora- 
tion of New York, R.L. Polk & Company 
of Detroit and the Metromail Corpora- 
tion of Lincoln, Neb. 

The techniques of the different com- 



DOWNTIME! 



39 



panics vary. But according to several 
industry experts, one of the more 
complex methods is used by Donnelley. 
That corporation's national list begins 
with the telephone book. As each new 
city telephone book is published any- 
where in the United States* t&e nameSt 
addresses and numbers in it immedi- 
ately are fed into a computer by Don- 
nelley. A special program then places 
each of these households in its appro- 
priate Census Bureau tract, which in- 
cludes information on the median in- 
come of the households within its 
borders. 

There are two more major steps in the 
Donnelley process. Because studiies 
have shown that people who live at (sat 
address for a long period tend to have 
higher incomes than those who are 
mobile, the computer is instructed to 
adjust the estimated income up or down 
according to how long the telephone 
book data shows the family has lived at 
the same location. 

Finally, information on the cat cw cars 
registered in the names of individuals 
living at each address is added to the 
equation. This informadoa is made 
available to private conggaates some by 
motor vehicle depar|pints, although 
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut 
bar release of such information to those 
concerns. Using complex computerized 
formulas, the estimated household in- 
comes again are adjusted to the make, 
model and year of the registered cars. 

"To have a free society, we have to 
have a viable Governm<bnt," he $aid. 
"And a working tax system is ejsseutial 
to government." . 

NewTairkTime«,$/29 



COMPUTER FBAUD BILKS 
GO VESTMENT or MILUOJ^S 

Hundreds of federal eittpJoyees work- 
ing at newly iu^falled computer termi- 
nals are stealing millions of dollars from 
foodstamp. Social Security, Veterans 
Administration and other federal pro- 



grams, according to a study of computer 
fraud and abuse. 

The study uncovered innovative ways 
that federal workers, ranging from low- 
salaried clerks at the Social Security 
Administration to supervisors at the 
CotttJJJerce Department, have found to 
steal ftttids, computer time and other 
resources, sxtch as valuable computer 
programs that <j$in be sold to private 
businesses. 

By creatively entering data and com- 
puter commands on thei;r desk termi- 
nals, the fedet^ comj^jg^^r thieves have 
pulled off tbese cape^f 

-^^ A clerk assigned to the recovery of 
loan overpayments to veterans caused 
by computer errors found a way to divert 
the overpayments to his personal bank 
account. 

— Three data-entry clerks at the 
Agriculture Department who were 
given terminals that could accept only 
names of potential food-stamp recipi- 
ents were able to steal $150,000 in 
stamps because their supervisor, whose 
machine wa$ capable of actually issuing 
them, left the terminal running while he 
was at lunch. Th^ thieves typed in fake 
applications and tJJen approved them on 
the boss' unguarded terminal during 
the \un^h break. 

The kivestigatiott was conducted for 
the President's Coujacfion Integrity and 
Efficiency after Wlttte House budget 
officials found that no effort had been 
made to determine the scope of com- 
puter fraud despite tfee bureaucracy's 
dependence On the machines to handle 
work once done by humiatiS* 

The survey also fott^d tliat many of 
the agencies had nd way of keeping 
track of computer fraud* There were 
indications, Kusserow wrote, that the 
losses Itnd people Involved were sub- 
stastially higker thai what was actually 
rented in the 172 cases. 

Because most of the cases were found 
by what Kusserow called "accident," 
the report warned that the extent of the 
abuse is unknown. 

Chicago Tribime^ 7/t& 




A Yearns Worth of Journals 

About 
Working and Not-Working 



July 1982 
' 'Outpatient Administration ' ' 

Sitting the phones is much like 
taking care of a baby. It demands your 
constant attention — you can never 
stray too far away without its crying 
out; it won't stop until you pick it up 
and touch it in the right places, give it 
what it needs (another person, a 
message) or else reassure the voice at 
the other end (as quickly as possible 
before another line rings) that yes, 
things will be all right, yes, I will tell 
them to call you back, no, they have 
not forgotten you (though often they 
actually have. But a good reception- 
ist, like a good mother, is there to 
soothe, not instruct.) 

August 1982 
The Fifteen-Minute Break 

It is very strange to come out of the 
office (you know. The Office) into a 
parking lot with a ledge to sit on and 
which (furthermore) faces onto a hill 
with a spread of large beautiful trees 
and green grass.... What I mean is, 
looking at this world and feeling 



removed from it, how the World Out- 
side and the World Inside collide and 
yet remain separate, I mean. . . . 

Ah, yes. That Office: sharp, effi- 
cient, phone rings and paper clips and 
high heels and pantyhose that itch 
unbearably when the cold wind blows 
around the legs... and yet, nature, 
beauty, the Unknown, somehow all 
the more intensified for being so rare, 
so removed, and yet here, as if by 
miracle (certainly not by purchase 
order)... What I mean is, beauty in- 
vades our life in spite of ourselves, in 
spite of That Office, and that is the 
real beauty of it. 

October 1982 

Blissfully Unemployed 

(Poor But Halfway Happy) 

This great empty space of spare- 
time has made me realize how truly 
dangerous it is to become lost in 
thought. I am now reduced to the 
point where I cannot read one sen- 
tence of a book without being lost for 
an hour or more in the infinite 
complications and suggestions, ex- 
periences and sensations, it evokes in 



That Office! 



41 



me. It seems that thinking leads more 
and more away from action and more 
and more towards a world in which no 
action is possible, because one's 
thinking is never yet completed, 
never will be. Thinking becomes an 
action in itself which cancels out all 
other action. 

And so I realize that all that we call 
leisure, "doing nothing," "not work- 
ing," "being unemployed," all that 
goes through us when we stare 
blankly into space, actually betrays an 
activity so intense and far-reaching 
that is could overturn our whole lives. 
The more I indulge in this activity 
which is no activity, the more useless 
and trivial the rest of life begins to 
seem. That, of course, is why this 
kind of leisure is forbidden to us — 
through the economic necessity of 
"work" — and why TV, bridge 
games, and typing pools (which never 
fail to evoke and image of drowning) 
were all invented. In other words, 
society is terrified at the prospect that 
we might stop working and start 
thinking. 

March 1983 

Back-To-Work 

{Wherein I Leave the Swelling Ranks 

of the Unemployed and Re-join the 

Rank Swells of the Employed) 

"Pulling yourself together" (which 
I am attempting to do now) is after all 
the opposite of spreading yourself 
out, laying thin and still, listening to 
the atmosphere, to the clouds con- 
dense, feeling the air pressure 
build.... 

I can feel acutely, now, the shift in 
consciousness when I occupy myself 
with "work" — instead of being filled 
with the world, immobile, I am 
sharpened, focused, bounded. It's the 
difference between thinking poetry 
and writing it — this involves also the 
unfortunate narro wing-down, just as 
we have to narrow our mouths to get 
the words out. . .to be open-mouthed is 
to be awe-struck, speechless and full 



of wonder, or simply retarded, or 
perhaps all of these at once (and it 
certainly means being out of a job. 
Clerical workers must always keep 
their mouths shut.) 

July 1983 

At the "Office of Development'' 

at tic Med Center, 

A "Very Well-Run Office'' 

Ultimately, the fault of the office — 
especially the well-run office — is that 
it organizes life in a way that it 
refuses to be organized — or, rather, 
that the life-outside-of-the-office (the 
Sutro Forest above the buildings) 
refuses to be organized. It creates an 
illusion of order where none in fact 
exists — and then, when the rest of 
life does not follow form, we are lost 
and betrayed. Therefrom (whence, 
thereto, leading out of) lies the 
obvious liberating solution: which is ~ 
(but I forgot, the phone rang.) 

— by Roberta Werdinger 



Make paper roses and spray paint 
red. Sell to military veterans. 




IMIIIIIIIillllllllllllllllilillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllilllllllllliillllllllllllllllllilillllllllllllllMllllllllllllllli 




Reached • • 
DISCONNECT IT! ' ' 



INTERPRETING THE PHONE STRIKE 

lllillllllilllllllllllllllllllllllllllilHllllllllilllllllllillllllilllillll"iil"ll>lll>lli>l*""l"l'llll"*"""""""""""""" 



The 22 day nationwide strike by 
700,000 telephone workers provided a 
window on the relative strength of 
capital and labor in the current era. In 
classic style, both management and 
unions are claiming victory, since 
neither side was able to push through 
its most aggressive bargaining goals. 

The union successfully resisted the 
"takebacks" that management de- 
manded. Nationally, AT«&T sought a 
restructuring of medical insurance 
payments that would transfer up to 
25% of basic costs to workers, but 
surrendered in the face of union in- 
transigence. In California, Pacific Tel- 
ephone workers won two important 
issues when they resisted the impo- 
sition of split shifts in all depart- 
ments, and maintained the IVi hour 
workday for clericals in spite of 
PacTel demands for an 8 hour day. 

On the other hand, AT&T and the 
soon-to-be-divested regional basic 
operating companies (BOC's) over- 
came union demands for guaranteed 
job security, establishing instead a 
miniscule $31 million "retraining 
fund" for workers whose jobs become 
obsolete and an incentive-bonus pro- 
gram for early retirement. No specific 
job protection guarantees were made, 
the company thereby reserving its 
"right" to lay off and transfer wor- 
kers according to market conditions. 
Given the forthcoming deregulation of 
the communications industry, phone 
service employment will significantly 
diminish over the course of the three 
year agreement. The severance pay- 
ment plans do represent a concession 



by management to cushion workers 
from layoffs, but for a corporation 
giant with $7.2 billion in profits last 
year, and $1.9 billion in the first 
quarter of this year, it is a small price 
to pay in exchange for control over 
workforce levels and the labor process 
itself. 

Both sides have expressed satisfac- 
tion with the wage settlement, 5.5% 
in the first year, 1.5% + COLA in 
second and third years (estimated 
total for the three year contract is 
16.4%). For the company the settle- 
ment looks good because it is less 
than each of the last two national 
contracts; it is substantially less than 
the 28.5% granted to GTE tele- 
communications workers in bargain- 
ing last year; and most importantly, 
the BOC's are blessed with very low 
built-in labor cost increases for the 
first two years of their marketplace 
independence ('84 & '85). The 
unions, for their part, can point to the 
total increase of 16.4% as an im- 
provement over widespread wage 
freezes and wage cuts agreed to by 
other big unions. 

AT&T: Strengths & Weaknesses 

The media has made much of the 
97% automation of basic phone ser- 
vice that made it possible for 700,000 
people to strike without much affect 
on the public. Of course, this high 
level of automation did hurt workers' 
power to affect phone service from 
outside the workplace. The company 
could also rely on a built-in force of 



The Line You Have Reached . . . Disconnect It! 



43 



250,000 strikebreakers — its vast 
bureaucracy of "managers," most of 
whom usually perform routine infor- 
mation processing and have only 
narrowly-defined decision-making 
functions. 

The Bell System assumes it has a 
basically uncooperative and "lazy" 
workforce. Thus, it exercises rigid 
control over all its operatives via close 
surveillance and evaluation of wor- 
kers and managers alike, and more 
recently through computerized track- 
ing of work performance. Now that 
the machines are able to take on much 
of this work. Bell is saddled with a 
redundant, costly middle-manage- 
ment bureaucracy. During the strike, 
most middle managers were in a 
sense re-proletarianized, as they went 
back to being operators, linemen, 
sales clerks, and secretaries, com- 
monly working 12-hour days and 
6-day weeks. In the Bay Area there 
were grumblings about starting a 
"managers' union" for future pro- 
tection from these conditions. This 
strike experience could be a hint of 
what's to come for managers with 
further industry automation and ra- 
tionalization. 



LEAVING THE FINANCLU. DISTRICT, 
SUDDENLY, THE SEA 

The sky explodes at noon. 
Hundreds of office workers 
killed in the streets 
by a hail of silver dollars. 

The survivors are only disgruntled 

about the added city costs 

for clearing the district of bodies. 

Somewhere outside the economy, 
I peddle like a falcon 
down the dense city streets 
to the bay 

where shreds of fog drift, 

blank paychecks, 

a currency almost forgotten. 

by David Steinberg 



There was significant discord a- 
mong the management bargainers 
during this strike. Marketplace com- 
petition is only a few months away, 
and different prospects for profits are 
facing different BOC's and AT&T 
itself. PacTel in California and several 
units in the new Bell Atlantic region 
(around Philadelphia, Baltimore and 
Washington D.C.), fearing that de- 
regulation and divestiture would ag- 
gravate their already weak financial 
conditions, pushed for substantial 
takebacks in this contract — this 
hard-line position prevailed in the 
early stages of the strike. Eventually, 
however, AT&T and other regional 
bargainers, wanting to ensure relative 
peace and stability during the break- 
up process, reached a compromise 
contract agreement. 

The greatest weakness of the Bell 
System in this strike, ironically, 
proved to be the divestiture process 
itself. Because so much managerial 
and marketing time is being spent 
gearing up for "1-1-84," the actual 
date of the breakup, there is a great 
deal of clerical work to be done — 
work which, while invisible to the 
public, is nonetheless crucial to the 
current and future profitability of the 
phone companies. The hundreds of 
thousands of striking word proces- 
sors, data processors, key punchers, 
typists, secretaries, file clerks, etc. 
crippled the phone company's ability 
to continue vital information pro- 
cessing. 

AT&T needs to get the divestiture 
over with as soon as possible. They 
are getting out of basic phone service 
just in time for the fast-moving 
technological upheaval in the com- 
munications industry. The phone sys- 
tem needs to upgrade its technology 
and overhaul its operations if it is to 
maintain a slowly falling share of the 
total communications market. By di- 
vesting itself now, AT&T is taking 
half its total assets, plus its most in- 
novative and competitive divisions, 
into the competitive and profitable 



44 



Processed World 



communications marketplace. 

The divested BOC's will have to 
modernize their technology and de- 
crease their workforces. Had they 
remained part of AT&T they conceiv- 
ably could have tapped its enormous 
capital resources to finance this re- 
structuring. Instead, they will have to 
obtain the needed capital by doubling 
basic phone service costs — thereby 
lowering the basic standard of living 
(10-42% of present phone holders are 
projected to give up having a phone at 
home as basic costs double) while 
AT&T uses its retained capital to 
dominate the communications mar- 
kets. 

Labor: Strengths & Weaknesses 

The strike caught the unions un- 
prepared. The smallest union's presi- 
dent, John Shaughnessy of the Tele- 
communications International Union 
(TIU), claimed that management 
forced the strike. The largest union, 
representing 525,000 phone workers, 
was the Communications Workers of 
America (CWA). The CWA didn't 
expect a strike until it was almost 
underway. Also, the CWA's small 
strike fund couldn't sustain a long 
strike. 

In spite of the union leadership's 
flatfootedness, the important trade- 
union principle of solidarity was re- 
affirmed in this strike (contrast the 
predicament of the Machinists on 
strike against now- "bankrupt" Con- 
tinental Airlines without support from 
other airline unions until the bank- 
ruptcy scheme — the same Mach- 
inists who crossed PATCO picket 
lines 2 years ago). The three unions in 
the phone strike (CWA, TIU, and the 
International Brotherhood of Electri- 

'.ix!.ij.i.KUj.i.iJ.i.i.i.i.ij.,ij.ij.rnif!fTnTroii.ti.i.i.iiti.iKLii.Kii.^ 



DOWNTOWN 

waiting in a phone booth 
for the rain 
for the business to 
come down 
on my lackey head 
between ink-spurts and 
cloudbursts of exhaust 
and cement reflections 
which shine in the overcast 
as though there were 
still something to sing about 
here downtown 
where everyone's either 
dead, sad, or believing that 
it's over, 

their checkbooks cupped in their 
hands like prayers, 
that there is no 
choice, you've got to be 
this way, or else . . . 
by J. Cleave Barker 



cal Workers — IBEW) promised to 
respect each others' picket lines, and 
with few exceptions did in fact stay off 
the job while others were still negoti- 
ating. At its last national convention 
the CWA had the foresight to pledge 
national solidarity among locals so 
that everyone stayed out until all local 
issues were "resolved." 

In spite of these positive steps, the 
phone strike was definitely "under 
control." For information strikers 
depended on daily bulletins issued by 
the union, which offered the same 
platitudes dished up to the press 
about progress in negotiations. Nego- 
tiations were carried on at all levels in 
secret meetings, and the negotiators 
were primarily union officials. Stri- 
kers do have the right to vote on 
ratification, but that ballot took place 
over a month after the back-to-work 



• MMM iii«iti« nnMiiAM MMKMMiiniiMilMiNit •»••«<••><« Ml Ml iwnniin 







Money kills. Drop a two ton sack of money 
on somebody's head — you'll see it's true. 



The Line You Have Reached . . . Disconnect It! 



45 



order. 

The structure of the strike rein- 
forced a passive role for the actual 
strikers, whose primary function was 
to stand at isolated picket posts for a 
few hours a day. The structure of U.S. 
labor conflict is based on "experts" 
on both union and management sides 
defining what is "negotiable" and 
then proceeding to arrive at a "set- 
tlement." That arrangement, in 
which strikers are spectators of their 
own battle, is an important element in 
defusing the common (but difficult to 
"negotiate" or "settle") frustration 
and anger stemming from alienation, 
boredom, work quotas, and manage- 
ment. The humiliation of submitting 
to the discipline of a phone company 
job is well known (it's not uncommon 
to have to raise one's hand to go to the 
bathroom). Less clear is how that hu- 
miliation, and the anger at it, is used 
by the union for its own narrow 
economic goals. Since "manage- 
ment's right to manage" and capital's 
right to exist aren't rejected by the 
unions it follows that they cannot ad- 
dress problems about the qualitative 
nature of work, or life in general. 

Even what solidarity there was was 
a mere shadow of a real class soli- 



darity. For example, AT&T's vul- 
nerability as a result of the divestiture 
process could have been exploited to 
better advantage. Instead of accep- 
ting the constraints of "acceptable 
demands," such as wages and wor- 
king conditions, the strikers could 
have demanded that AT&T put up the 
money to modernize local phone 
systems, and thwarted its scheme to 
double the customers' costs. Such a 
demand would have created a natural 
unity between all phone users (most 
people) and the strikers against com- 
pany and union negotiators who were 
trying to limit the issues, and against 
the courts and government bureau- 
crats who have set up the great "di- 
vestiture" scam. 

Widely considered "progressive," 
unions are themselves capitalist in- 
stitutions, having the function of bar- 
gaining over the sale of human 
beings. Collective bargaining is in- 
herently oppressive since it always 
implies the continuation of wage- 
slavery and never allows for the ter- 
mination of the selling of human 
beings, for any time or price under 
any conditions. Trade unionism, es- 
pecially in its narrowest and most 
widely practiced form, is a vital 



We're On Strike! 



^O^SUBj 




46 



Processed World 





You can be popular at bars b\; provmg the 
Domino Theory; with i;our pocket change! 



support for capitalism, since it con- 
tains workers' conflicts within the 
logic of the system of buying and 
selling. 

In the phone strike, the workers did 
partially break out of that logic 
through widespread sabotage, albeit 
sporadically and unlinked to any 
radical demands or goals. There were 
perhaps a thousand incidents nation- 
wide, many of which demonstrated 
great skill and good sense about tar- 
gets. In New Jersey there were 25 
acts of sabotage reported in the first 
three days of the strike. The most 
dramatic was a severed cable which 
cut off phone service to a New Jersey 
state police barracks and Fort Dix, a 
major army base. In the Chicago area 
there were 47 acts in the first week, 
one of which consisted of throwing a 
lit highway flare into a switching box, 
thereby cutting off service to the Du 
Page County Sheriff's Department. In 
California, Pacific Telephone reported 
there were 227 incidents of sabotage, 
for an average of over ten per day 
during the 22 day strike. Damage was 
done in most parts of the country, 
including Miami, Dallas, Detroit, Re- 
no, Philadelphia, and many other 
places. 

This remarkable outbreak of direct 
action undoubtedly steered manage- 
ment negotiators toward conciliation. 
Beyond that, it kept the scab work- 



force in a state of "crisis manage- 
ment," where in addition to handling 
the ever-increasing backlog of routine 
repair and installation, they constant- 
ly had to attend to emergencies. 

In several areas the picket lines 
were militant. In Providence Rhode 
Island pickets skirmished with moun- 
ted police, and in Brooklyn NY a 
scuffle took place between strikers 
and cops, injuring three police and 
leading to the arrest of 3 strikers. In 
Dorchester Mass. (a suburb of Bos- 
ton) strikers surrounded three scab- 
bing phone company trucks until they 
were dispersed by police. 

In spite of this direct action, union 
control and direction prevented stri- 
kers form resorting to a much stron- 
ger form of leverage: the occupation. 
Two years ago, in a strike against 
British Columbia Telephone (Cana- 
da), which is owned by GTE (U.S.), 
11,000 phone workers occupied 20 in- 
stallations over an area as large as 
California, Oregon, and Washington 
combined. At the height of their oc- 
cupation they controlled all tele- 
phone, radiophone, satellites, and 
cable in British Columbia, and pro- 
vided free phone service to people 
during the six days. Similarly ac- 
cording to a recent report from 
Australia, phone workers were giving 
citizens free long distance phone calls 
from specific phone booths in major 



The Line You Have Reached . . . Disconnect It! 



47 



cities. What characterizes these tac- 
tics is the suspension of the business 
part of phones while maintaining their 
use value for the general population. 

In the U.S. phone strike, workers 
gained significant leverage by tho- 
roughly disrupting basic information- 
processing. The bulk of phone com- 
pany information is generally only of 
use in billing or keeping track of 
ownership, etc., so disrupting it halts 
the smooth circulation of capital. The 
phone strike thus reinforced the pow- 
er of clerical workers to hurt capital, 
though we probably won't hear much 
about it from most commentators. 

The fact remains, however, that an 
occupation would have totally halted 
information processing, and also in- 
formation gathering , as workers could 
have tampered with or destroyed vast 
amounts of data needed for billing. In 
fact, the power to destroy vital data is 
growing. With computerization there 
is less paper or "hard copy" evidence 
of what is "correct," so it is possible 
for workers to creatively intervene at 
each link of the infoprocessing chain. 



B£ MOf<E 'To 



m^ Uom'i 





out-of-control data institute 

Phone workers are also uniquely 
positioned to exert tremendous lever- 
age in solidarity with other workers. 
The selective cutting off of phone 
service to intransigent owners (or 
arsonist landlords or brutal cops for 
that matter) can be a powerful wea- 
pon in an increasingly hot class 
conflict. It isn't the new technology as 
an outside force which has disem- 
powered workers, as Time and other 
establishment press claim. Capital 
has continually restructured work to 
expand its control, and new techno- 
logy has always been a key to its 
strategies. The problems lie more 
with workers who don't grasp the 
power at their fingertips, instead 
relying on moribund and obsolete 
strategies imposed by a decaying 
trade union movement in its death 
throes. By taking direct control over 
worksites and labor processes, wor- 
kers can make dramatic immediate 
improvements and begin to open the 
possibilities for a free future. 



— by Lucius Cabins, with friends 




TO: Selected faculty and staff 

FROM: President Sperry Univac 

Spring 1984 

RE: Orange Blossom Special Plan 

Years ago we commissioned a study of the City College of San Francisco 
(CCSF) by the Bechtel Time-Motion Efficiency Maximization Corporation to ferret 
out waste, corruption and inefficiency and develop a more streamlined approach to 
education. The Bechtel team has finished their study, presenting us a com- 
prehensive proposal to overhaul CCSF operations and cut costs. 

The Bechtel team began with a macro-economic analysis of CCSF's role in the 
local economy and concluded that the yearly capital outlay is not fully paid off by 
future dividends accrued from increased alumni productivity in the economy at 
large. 

Glaring inefficiency was uncovered in the usage of time/ space by CCSF 
students. For example, the average number of class hours per student is 2 hours. 
This means the 75% of the student body which commutes via public transport 
spends as much time on buses or BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains as it does 
in class. And students with cars spend the equivalent of 60% of their class time in 
transport, when parking time is accounted for. Further there is the notorious 
"down time" expended chattering with other students, cutting classes, sleeping in 
the library and listening labs, sitting on toilets and in cars, playing huge radio-tape 
players, and staring into space, walking about aimlessly. The survey found a 
similar amount of man-hours being wasted by faculty and staff, and an enormous 
portion of the annual budget devoted to mere physical maintenance of the campus. 

Accordingly the Bechtel proposal is to terminate the CCSF campus, converting 
it into an industrial park, and transfer classes onto MUNI buses and BART trains 
during non-rush hours, all coordinated through an advanced computer system. 
Students and staff could be provided with daily scheduling data wherever there is a 
conveniently located BART station, bus stop, computerized bank teller or Pac-Man 
machine. By placing a magnetic ID card in a local computer, a student/ staffer could 
receive its bus or train route for the day in 15 seconds. There can be rest stops at 
fast food chains, shopping centers. Consumers' distributors stores, bookstores and 
Army recruitment centers as a part of the daily program. Childcare services would 
be moved onto buses also. (Note: This is not an eccentric Rube Goldberg scheme. 
The Bechtel team has already constructed a working model of the "Orange Blossom 
Special Plan" based on their 15 years of work on the mobile MX missile system.) 

Further, CCSF, with its motto "We Do It All For You," cannot ignore the 
psycho-social aspects of modern academic life. Currently, students with full-time 
jobs who take only one or two classes adapt well, since CCSF appears to be a 
recreational activity next to their family /job routine. It is the full-time student who 
induces real problems. The average full-timer complains of drifting alone in a sea of 
15,000 other day students, often going through an entire day without a single 
personal conversation. One rather emotionally-disturbed youngster scrawled on the 
Bechtel team questionnaire that CCSF should be re-named "Market Street 
University" and claimed that the cafeteria resembled a Greyhound Bus station. 

The survey found faculty had little time for personalized interface with 
students, burdened with from 50 to 350 students per semester. This was found to be 
the main cause of low student productivity, manifested by frequent lapses into 
"pupilus catatonus" during class. This phenomena was found reaching epidemic 
proportions (Symptoms: Student stares blankly into space for hour intervals, 
smiling and nodding, scribbling as if he were taking notes). The extreme 10% of 



Orange Blossom Special Plan 49 

these cases sleep mainly in CCSF classes and do schoolwork under heavy doses of 
amphetamines between 1 and 6 a.m. 

Could the stop and go of a bus or train be disruptive to reading, lectures or 
class discussion? Research has found students to be more alert on buses, watching 
card tricks, for instance, than in class. The stop and go of the bus can be a stimulant 
to the student's sleepy demeanor. The scenery, light breezes through the window, 
and the professor strolling up and down the aisle lecturing can be expected to 
produce even greater student attentiveness. The changed atmosphere of the mobile 
school should also ameliorate numerous complaints over the "anonymity" and 
"loneliness" of the CCSF campus. 

Bechtel deduced that greater savings can be made by combining the job of bus 
driver and professor. Bus drivers who are inclined toward conversation can be 
tutored on a given subject and will be able to chatter intelligently to students 
through a microphone while driving. On the other hand, many professors who have 
been repeating the same lectures for 10 to 25 years can be trained to drive while 
lecturing. Certain popular classes could be held on 5-car BART trains or broadcast 
to other buses over closed-circuit TV. These video-equipped buses could also be 
utilized by students on their breaks, who could eat lunch and watch soap operas. 

The Computer Science Department will be the only one to remain fully-based 
on the old campus, given that this semester the department will encompass 67% of 
the student body. The first two floors of Batmale Hall will be converted into a silicon 
chip assembly plant, manned by that sector of the student body with a 2.0 grade 
point average or lower, to encourage them to pursue a career where their manual 
dexterity can be more efficiently employed. The more advanced students will run 
the computer of the CCSF itself, the first college on wheels! 

The major objection that we forsee is that our streamlined approach to 
education won't be conducive to the creation of the so-called well-rounded student. 
Let's get down to brass tacks: aren't there enough English majors, second rate 
"artists" and failed football stars on the city's welfare rolls, driving cabs or 
washing dishes? In what sense do these "well rounded" individuals contribute to 
the progress of our nation? The Orange Blossom Special plan will synchronize 
CCSF's curriculum with today's job market. We all know that the average student 
attends community college to give his career a little boost. Under our plan local 
corporations will be searching out CCSF graduates the way law firms look for 
Harvard or Yale graduates. They'll know that CCSF graduates can be counted on to 
be loyal, productive employees. The change would not be as great as you think: is 
walking through CCSF at midday any different from a BART station at rush hour? 
In all candor, this plan can cut CCSF's budget in half, and modernize its teaching 
methods without lowering City College's high educational standards one iota. 

iAi.ij.i.ijj,ri.ijJ.lllJi|.tjjjlU.h,iii.t.|.lJJ.U.U.tiJj.i.Ki.t.ii.iJii.iJ.M.t.i.i.r.t.i,j.<lllt.ffi^^ 




....f . T-jy j5^&iJ!|%>^. . ^^'^ for a ' 



V»*' 





U\ 



I worked as an office temp upstairs, 
above the workshop factory, in what 
was euphemistically called a "shel- 
tered workshop." It was a mezzanine, 
with open window space through 
which you could look down on the 
workroom floor. My job entailed 
logging in the hours of each produc- 
tion worker down on the floor, fig- 
uring out their individual piece rates 
per hour, according to a predeter- 
mined piece rate steindard that Gret- 
chen, my immediate boss, would give 
me. The rate would be established by 
Mr. Hershman, the stern Austrian- 
born director of the workshop, after 
the beginning of a job, after taking a 
one or two week set of figures on what 
each worker did per day. 

The various jobs were contracted 
out to the workshop by different com- 
panies. A typical job might consist of 
stapling two flyers together, or maybe 
inserting forty pieces of literature into 
pockets of a plastic folder, then 
inserting the plastic folder into a 
polybag and stapling it. The two 
regular jobs were shrink wrapping 
books from a printer in a sort of Saran 
Wrap in order to keep them undam- 
aged in distribution, and assembling 
snake bite and hypodermic kits for 
clinical laboratories. 

Whenever the workers would start 
consistently surpassing the standard 
per hour rate on any job for a two 
week period or so, Mr. Hershman 
would have us change the standard 
quantity per hour, to up it from, say, 
20 to 25, and then lower the piece rate 
pay. For example, 15.8 cents per 
might be dropped to 14.2. Calculating 
the pay was my job, and although I 
suspected that this m2inipulation of 
pay rates might be illegal, it took me a 
while to understand how it worked. 
Then too, I was grateful to have 



gotten the job because I had few 
sophisticated office skills, no experi- 
ence in accounting, and I had no one 
looking over my shoulder, so when- 
ever I needed to type one of the few 
and basic letters required I could 
struggle with it a couple of hours 
unnoticed. 

Gretchen, a soft-hearted Hungar- 
i£in, told me that she'd tried berating 
the workers for habitually wanting at 
the workshop door to get in to work 
before eight in the morning, explain- 
ing to them that they were defeating 
their own purpose by it. But they 
would be eager to make the "stan- 
dard" by starting early. The majority 
of them were of foreign origin, old, 
with varyingly serious medical handi- 
caps, and had nothing but loneliness 
to shut the door on when they left 
home in the morning, so they looked 
forward to coming to the workshop 
where they would argue with each 
other, with Gretchen — even though 
she had good rapport with them — 
with Mr. Hershman, and with his 
Filipino foreman. Marcel. And with 
Darwish, the shop steady man, al- 
though arguing with him often proved 
to be a one way street, if he didn't 
have his hearing aid turned up at the 
time. 

Darwish was in his mid-seventies 
and wore a pacemaker. His primary 
responsibility outside of running er- 
rands to the main office of the work- 
shop on the other side of the city was 
to clean the floors and the office up- 
stairs. He was gregarious, but self- 
contained, spry in a serene way that I 
liked. He reminded me of an elf. If he 
liked you he would drop little Euro- 
pean chocolate or coffee candies on 
your work area as he went by. Try as I 
might, I could never manage to pro- 
nounce his name right and usually 



Piece Work 



51 



called him Darvish. Darwish intro- 
duced himself to me with a question. 
"You know how memy years I'm 
here?" Eighteen years I'm here." 
Whenever anybody asked, "How are 
you, Darwish?" he would gmswer, 
"I'm dyink," patting his chest over 
the area of his pacemaker. 

Things were catch as catch C£m in 
the office. There was often nothing in 
the bathroom to use for toilet paper 
and we would have to resort to using 
the scratchy hand towel paper which 
was left on a shelf. I realized after a 
while that toilet paper was something 
that Darwish was sent out for upon 
immediate need, not something to be 
stocked because of its obvious future 
need. The same was true of a lot of 
the other supplies. I often wrote up 
pay sheets with a one inch stub of 
pencil, and added sets of five cent 
stamps to update postage on ancient 
workshop envelopes. I learned how to 
enjoy warm, eyeballed instant coffee, 
unstirred, and to write business let- 
ters on a typewriter with no right 
hand margin. Once when I ran out of 
white-out, I had to go out and buy a 
bottle in order to finish a letter I was 
typing. 

One morning, Gretchen had spent 
the morning downstairs on the work- 
shop floor and Darwish, who was 
upstairs cleaning, had accidentally 
locked the office door behind him. 
When I came to work I couldn't get in. 
I knocked, then pounded on the door, 
yelling, "Darvish, Darvish, open 
up." Gretchen then CEime up and 
pounded even louder, yelling for 
Darwish to come to the door. The 
Filipino foreman. Marcel, began yell- 
ing up from the work floor through the 
two window openings which looked 
out onto the first floor. "Darvich, 
Darvich, open the door!" Then the 
eighteen workers chimed in. The 
whole building reverberated with ver- 
sions of ! Darwish! with everyone 
waving, gesturing, pounding, 
screaming, trying to get Darwish' s 
attention, in vain. After a quarter 



hour of this futile effort Darwish, who 
by now had finished cleaning, opened 
the locked door. He looked astonished 
to see so many people out there at the 
head of the stairs. He had turned 
down his hearing aid before he 
started to clean. That afternoon I 
heard Mr. Hershman in his office 
complaining to Gretchen. "If Darvish 
wasn't here so long, I'd let him go." 
Shortly after, he took Darwish off the 
office cleaning job and gave it to a 
new, young Filipino worker, Elvino, 
and it became increasingly obvious 
that Mr. Hershman wanted to fire 
Darwish. 

But Darwish didn't seem to mind 
losing his cleaning job. He still came 
in in good spirits, would say good 
morning to Gretchen and me, hum to 
himself, and give us our two candies 
apiece, darting around in his elfin 
way. 

About this time, Mrs. Rugoff got in 
a big fight with Mr. Morales about his 
not cleaning up the downstairs bath- 



G A S P 



They're cutting down the trees 
to make room to raise cheese 
burgers, down in the Amazon 
rainforests. (Check it out 
for yourself.) 

They're eating up the atmosphere 
I hope your children don't like air 
(Train them early how to hold 
their breath.) 

They're growing buildings 
miles high, full of people 
eating burgers raised in 
vanished forests. 

They're magicians, they make 
trees and air disappear. 
When they get better machines 
they'll make you disappear. 

They, they, they. They have 

names and addresses. 

When there's only bottled air, 

guess who will be selling 

the bottles? . ^, ,. . 

by Kurt Lipschutz 




52 



Processed World 



room after himself, not returning the 
toilet paper and letting the hand 
towels fall into the toilet bowl. Gret- 
chen had to go down and act as 
mediator as everyone took sides £ind it 
sounded from upstairs like this time 
there was the possibility of a riot 
developing. When she came back up- 
stairs, she was exasperated. "They're 
just like children, I swear, when they 
get going like that. Mrs. Rugoff told 
Mr. Bargov to quit staring at her so 
much. I don't know what's got into 
her lately. She's so damn touchy." 

A while later Darwish came up- 
stairs to get his letters to deliver to 
the main office. He was wearing a 
spicy green bow tie with his usual suit 
jacket and short-sleeved shirt. How's 
it going, Darvish?" lasked. "Dyink," 
he said. "I'm dyink." His hand went 
up to his chest. Then he put two 
Austrian chocolates on my desk and 



winked. "I'm so bad now I got to go 
see the doctor. How about you callink 
for my appointment?" I made the 
appointment for him early the next 
week. "You. You two. You're two 
beautiful girls, you," he saiid, carry- 
ing his manila folders and letters out 
the door. After he was down the 
stairs, Gretchen confided that Mr. 
Hershman was planning to let Dar- 
wish go in two weeks. 

Everyone now and then one of the 
workers would pass out downstairs. 
Then there would be bedleun in the 
building, and even after I regdized 
that this happened on the average of 
once a month I was always surprised 
at the frenetic activity it could gene- 
rate. Both Gretchen and Mr. Hersh- 
man would bolt downstairs, leaving 
me to call the ambulance. Then, while 
they waited around for the arrived of 
the ambulance, the workers, Marcel, 



■m'lSn? 



I 




"WE GOT THE MONEY!! 



Piece Work 



53 



and Mr. Hershman would keep up a 
commentary on the condition of the 
passed out. I could hear them from 
upstairs. "She's coming around." 
"She's breathing better now." "Her 
color is comink." Mr. Hershmgui 
would meanwhile try to get the others 
to concentrate on returning to work. (I 
could imagine him saying something 
like, "OK, everybody back to work 
now, it only takes one person to die. ' ' ) 

Across from the workshop was a 
mini-park that had playground facili- 
ties, with swings £ind monkey bars, 
but children seldom went in it be- 
cause the park was well populated edl 
day long with winos. One wino lived 
there the entire six months I held the 
job. In daytime he lived in a sleeping 
bag in the sand and slept there in the 
open, but whenever it drizzled or 
rained he would move his sleeping 
bag underneath the slide. He would 
get out of his cocoon during the day 
only to go over to pee in the SEime 
place up against the wall of an 
abutting office building. It dawned on 
me that that playground was possibly 
the biggest litter box for male Homo 
sapiens this side of the continental 
divide. Every wino who wadked, stum- 
bled or crawled past that park, it 
seemed, stopped to urinate against 
that office building. It took its full 
share of ammoniac showers. 

One afternoon, as I was idly looking 
out the office window, I saw directly 
beneath on the sidewalk an extremely 
drunk man waving his penis about in 
one hand towards the oncoming traf- 
fic as though he were a signalman 
with a racing flag. An enormous 
stream of urine jetted up £uid out into 
the street, while he grinned foolishly 
at the oncoming cars as though he 
were terrifically pleased with this 
endless hydranting stream which he 
was capable of producing. 

As I was watching this scene, Mr. 
Hershman walked into the office on 
his way to his own office which was in 
back. It was getting close to Christ- 
mas and he was having a hard time 



organizing the annual party. Darwish 
had begged off the party, because he 
said he was having troubles with his 
pacemaker. 

"I haff a good mind to cancel the 
party, with everybody sick. It's cos- 
tink us too much. First Mrs. Rugoff, 
then Mrs. Berg gettink sick, and 
Darvish. I should let him go." Then 
he looked at me. "Are you comink to 
the party?" I tried to be polite about 
turning him down, telling him I had 
errands to run. 

"Well, just tell me. It doesn't 
matter if you're comink or not, but I 
got to know. It's $7.50 a person for 
this." 

"Well, I'd appreciate the day off," 
I admitted. I was relieved that he was 
being so blunt about it. 

"Good." He walked back into his 
office and I went back to typing out 
the paychecks, a new chore I'd been 
given as I had mastered the books so 
well that I had l£U"ge amounts of 
obvious free time by then. Then he 
came back in. "And another tink. If 
you don't want to hire on permanent, 
we're goink to haff to lay you off after 
Christmas because it's costink too 
much with this agency." I didn't 
want to hire on permanent and told 
him so, and that settled it. Then he 
went back downstairs (It was then 
that I decided to cook the books on the 
big Copy Copia shrink wrap job we 
had gotten in. Nothing big, not so it 
would be noticeable, but just enough 
so that the last checks I typed out 
would have a small bonus in them.) 

I heard some sort of noise, I guess, 
but I was thinking so hard about what 
I was going to do about a job after 
Christmas, and on typing the pay- 
checks, which had to be perfect, that I 
was completely absorbed. So it was a 
good fifteen minutes later that the 
yells registered. I rushed down the 
stairs £uid saw that the place was 
empty — everyone had gone home 
early, Gretchen was on her break — 
except for Darwish, who was in the 
back doing some piece work — he was 



54 



Processed World 



paid a straight salary and he often 
filled in his time doing some the piece 
rate work — £ind Mr. Hershman, who 
was on the floor by the workshop 
door, holding his side, writhing in 
obvious pain. I called the ambulance 
from the downstairs phone, and was 
relieved to see Gretchen get back by 
the time they got there. The ambu- 
lance driver spot-diagnosed a cracked 
or broken rib (it turned out to be 
three). Mr. Hershman said a drunk 
with his fly open, exposing himself, 
had wandered into the workshop. 
They argued and then Mr. Hershman 
had tried to evict him and they tussled 
until the drunk had swung him around 
hard onto one of the pallets. The 
drunk had then W2mdered away. Mr. 
Hershman had tried to get Darwish's 
attention, but couldn't. Even as he 
was telling his story for the second 
time, Darwish was still there, obli- 
vious, in the back at one of the work 
set-ups, methodically melting down 
the tips of glass laboratory tubing 
over a Bunsen burner. He just hap- 
pened to turn around and see the 
ambulance attendants getting Mr. 
Hershman onto a stretcher. He looked 
startled to see all of us there. 

Later, up in the office, after the 
gunbulance had gone and we had 
called Mrs. Hershman to let her know 
what happened and had all calmed 
down a little, Darwish told us he had 
turned his hearing aid down in order 
to spend the rest of his work shift in 
peace and quiet, so he could think 
about where he and Mrs. Rugoff were 
going to go on their honeymoon. She 
had agreed to marry him the next 
Friday, on the day scheduled for the 
Christmas party. He said they had 
argued it, but he had finally given in 
to her demands for a Russian Ortho- 
dox ceremony, while she in turn 
agreed that he should get to pick 
where they would go on their week- 
end honeymoon. "And the kids," 
Darwish gave us one of his pixie 
glances, "we already decided. They 
should be Russian Orthodox or go to 



Temple, however they want to do it." 
Gretchen gave Darwish and Mrs. 
Rugoff two paid vacation days as a 
wedding gift on the spot, and Darwish 
then insisted that we join him in a 
taste from the bottle of Slivovitz that 
Mrs. Berg had given him for a 
Christmas gift. 

— by Penny Skillman 





THE GARBAGE CAN LUNCH 

Trash can eater suffers 
hunger fits. 

Sick to the stomach 

for a super garbage dish. 

Look, I'm not a dog 
without any sense 
my food is carefully 
inspected by the F.D.A. 

The food hunt 
and my taste for lunch, 
the garbage can menu 
doesn't offer much. 

High minded people 
nose in the air 
little green bucks 
think they're going 
some where. 

New York steaks 
roast lamb 
luxury living 
puts me to shame. 

Education, can't spell 
anything. But when 
it comes to my garbage 
can lunch, 1 hunt, hunt, 
hunt, until I find me 
something to munch. 

Concerned about people 
I'm no fool 
hearts are cold 
money, the golden rule. 

by Henry Calhoun 







BAD GIRLE 






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56 



Processed World 




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57 




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fi 



"No Fare is No Fair" proclaimed 
the billboards sprouting all over San 
Francisco's streets and buses in the 
summer of 1983. In an absurd (and for 
all practical purposes ignored) at- 
tempt to turn "average bus riders" 
into vigilantes for the Municipal Rail- 
way, Mayor Dianne Feinstein 
launched a $50,000 public relations 
campaign to improve receipts for SF's 
beleaguered and underfunded public 
transit system. It is widely assumed 
that fare evasion has skyrocketed 
along with the more than doubling of 
fares in the past few years (from 25 
cents to 60 cents). Though statistics 
aren't available, MUNI (SF Transit) 
estimates put unpaid fares at five 
million dollars each year. 

In the past two years, as the 
Financial District has exploded in 
size, more people have crammed on- 




to the already overcrowded transit 
systems to get to work. A grass-roots 
campaign to force large downtown 
employees to help pay for costs of 
modernizing and expanding public 
transportation in SF was approved by 
the Board of Supervisors in 1981, but 
vetoed by Feinstein. Other attempts 
to tap corporate coffers have floun- 
dered in the courts. 

Mayor Feinstein had to develop 
other means of raising funds for 
public transit. The $50,000 pubHcity 
campaign indicates her strategy: ap- 
peal to middle-class sensibilities of 
"fairness" and civic responsibility 
and scapegoat the poorer people who 
have developed ingenious methods of 
fare evasion. 

Presenting fare payment as a civic 
responsibility reinforces widespread 



FARilSNOFAIR 




Pay Your Fare Share on the Mum 




60 



Processed World 



mystification about the primary func- 
tion of public transit, and obscures 
the unequal benefits derived from it. 
The obvious primary beneficiaries are 
employers and merchants. The ob- 
vious function is to bring people to 
and from work and shopping. In S.F., 
as in many other cities, the public 
transportation system is designed 
specifically to facilitate commuting to 
the downtown financial district from 
any part of the surrounding metro- 
politan area, whereas routes which do 
not pass through downtown are far 
less available or frequent. 

Governments tax people to create 
transit systems (Dallas and Los An- 
geles are just beginning multi-billion 
transit systems at taxpayer expense). 
Then people have to pay again to use 



these systems, usually suffering in- 
credible discomfort, degradation, and 
frustration waiting for and riding on 
the vehicles. 

In fact, transit systems are the 
means of last resort for assuring a 
mobile workforce and mobile shop- 
pers. The automobile culture has 
served to thoroughly transfer costs of 
mobility to individuals in the form of 
car, gas, repair payments, and high- 
way taxes. The transit system serves 
as a backup for millions, and as a 
primary means of commuting only for 
those who cannot afford a car, or 
parking . . . 

Commuting itself represents a 
transfer of costs, too. Business could 
not function without workers coming 
to work, hence commuting is actually 



|fe#w^^ 




^ COWORKERS 

^ They sit around me 

= Each of us at our separate desks 

^ If anyone of us looked up 

^ She would see the top of a head 

^ A turf of hair over the top of her machine 

^ They sit around me 

S^ Sometimes talking about kids or Skylab 

g The satellite falling to earth 

^ Or the crumminess of a certain job. 

= Lack of money from Dee 

^ And from Marie, Dee's friend when Dee is there, 

^ From Marie when Dee has left, 

g "I'm broke and when I'm broke I don't go out and 

§ Buy a sixty-dollar pair of shoes." 

^ Those shoes of Dee's really irritate Marie 

S Dee saved up six months/Dee can't pay the rent 

^ For the last month that's all Marie talks about 

S Those sixty-dollar shoes of Dee's 

S It proves something/there's a moral to be drawn 

S But I don't care about kids or Skylab or shoes 

^ I care about my pay 

S But no one wants to talk about that, the supervisor 

S is in the room 

^ We've been shoved around always down so much 

= The only thing I can look down on is my keyboard 

S Or the women next to me. 

^ by Dorthy Shellome 



;\\\ft#w# • m 








Against "Fairness" & Fares 



a crucial part of the workday. But 
capital doesn't pay the cost of that 
mobility; instead workers pay to get to 
work, increasing both their own cost 
of living and the rate of profit for 
business, as a cost of (re) production 
becomes part of the ' 'cost of living. ' ' 
The owners and managers who bene- 
fit the most from the transit system's 
function, already faced with declining 
profit rates, refuse to acknowledge 
this underlying reality. As a result, 
they won't pay for the transit system, 
and the paid workday begins when 
you enter the office or worksite, not 
when you get on the bus. ^^V^ 






A common form of fare evasion in 
San Francisco has been the use of 
expired transfers. SF MUNI at- 
tempted to defeat the recycling of 
flimsy newsprint transfers (good for 
unlimited rides in any direction ex- 
cept reverse) by developing a new, 
random and unpredictable symbol- 
number coding system. Whereas 
people had been saving trgmsfers for 
use in the following months (the old 
system merely had numbers matching 
the date without any indication of 
month) and could eventually gather 
enough transfers to cover any ride in 
any direction on any date, and never 
pay again, the new system required a 
transfer matching the days' code and 
color. This new system has made it 
harder to "abuse" transfers, but not 
impossible. 

The transfer system requires bus 
drivers to scrutinize transfers for 
date/time validity. Luckily a large 
number of SF bus drivers refuse to 
play cop, and generally avoid taking a 
close look at transfers. As a result, 
expired transfers are usually easy to 
use. It is also possible for people to 
pass on vaUd transfers to waiting 
riders as they get off the bus. 



Equally dependent on vigilant bus 
drivers is the use of the monthly 
"Fast Pass, ' ' good for unlimited rides 
in any direction on SF MUNI. Four 
years ago Fast Passes cost $11/ 
month, then they were raised to $16 
and now they cost $24. The new Fast 
Passes were also redesigned with a 
magnetic machine-readable strip for 
use in computerized fare gates in the 
underground Metro/BART stations 
downtown. But for the majority of 
rides, Fast Pass use still consists of 
showing it to the driver. As a result, 
uncoordinated counterfeit Fast Pass 
circles have sprung up (usually a- 
mong small groups of friends), de- 
pending largely on the use of color 
xerox machines. These machines cre- 
ate a reasonable facsimile of the 
original, though since MUNI started 
using hard-to-color-xerox colors, they 
often require some additional color 
pen or pencil touch up. Xerox Fast 
Passes cost about $1 each instead of 
$24. 

Another favorite and easy form of 
fare evasion is paying in numerous 
small coins, not adding up to the full 
fare (e.g. 40 cents in nickels instead of 
60 cents). Of course no driver csm 
count the jumble of coins as they 
clatter to the bottom tray of the fare 
box — many don't even try. A 
vacationing family from Spain using 
this method never once paid full fare 
during their recent trip to SF, and 
once were given good transfers to 
replace expired ones by a sympathetic 
driver. Yet another technique was 
tearing dollar bills in half and crump- 
ling them up and dropping in only Vi 
for each ride across the Bay. 

A local investigative joumaHst, Tim 
Redmond, has pointed out in his Bay 
Guardian articles that if the MUNI 
estimate of annual losses of $5 million 
is correct, then there is an average of 
16,000 fares evaded weekly, or 
$100,000 per week lost (or saved, 
depending on how you look at it). 



62 



Processed World 



COMPUTERIZED 
COUNTERMEASURES 

AC Transit, which serves over a 
million people in the eastern areas of 
the SF Bay, has spent several million 
dollars during the past two years to 
install computerized fare boxes. 
These new machines give the driver 
digital readouts of how much money 
was dropped in the box, and require 
the face-up feeding in of dollar bills. 
While the investment in these boxes 
probably far exceeds any actual losses 
due to evasion, they have been spe- 
cifically installed to eliminate the 
aforementioned and other forms of 
cheating. Methods of fare evasion 
that worked in the old open top fare 
boxes are impossible now. 

The new computerized fare boxes 
are not presently adapted to accepting 
the magnetic-strip monthly passes, 
but presumably they will be adjusted 
to do so later. For the time-being 
however, human enforcement in the 
form of driver scrutiny is still required 
to assure proper fEire payment in the 
monthly pass system on both major 
transit systems in San Francisco and 
the East Bay. 

Full scale computerization of the 
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) sys- 




tem seems to have defeated most of 
the common forms of fare evasion. 
The rider buys a computer ticket from 
a machine in the lobby, and the fare 
gates read its magnetic strip to charge 
the passenger for the ride. Most 
transit systems in the U.S. only 
require fare payment up front to get 
in, but no further examination or 
authentication of payment occurs 
past the initial fare box. But BART 
monitors passengers at both ends, 
charging different fares for different 
distances, and requires computerized 
reading of the ticket at both ends of 
the ride in order to assess the correct 
fare. 

In spite of this increased control, 
fare evasion has flourished on BART 
and has spawned its own publicity 
C£impaign with threats of jeiil £ind $50 
fines. The method used, again, de- 
pends on human, not computer con- 
trols. Disabled and seniors are enti- 
tled to purchase special discount 
tickets at banks and certain offices — 
a $10 ticket costs only $2 with 
disabled or senior identification 
CEirds. Naturally a black meirket in 
discount tickets has sprung up, since 
the machine CEmnot tell what kind of 
person is using a special discount 
ticket. Statistics aren't available but 
the investment in the publicity c£im- 
paign alone is several thousand dol- 
lars, so clearly the transit authorities 
feel threatened. 

Another increasingly common sight 
on Bay Area transit systems is the 
c£imera continuously videotaping the 
passengers on a bus, in a station, etc. 
BART stations are famous for the 
closed circuit TV monitors in the 
station agent booth, where s/he can 
watch the entire station at once. More 
recently, MUNI smd AC Transit have 
begun installing these cameras on 
buses, but since they sc£m back from 
the driver's partition they are irrele- 
vant to the fare collection process. 
Their ostensible purpose is to "deter 
crime," but since many people don't 
believe they contain film, and if they 



Against "Fairness" & Fares 



63 



did, it would be too labor-intensive to 
actually look at all of it, they Eire of 
dubious use. 

The role of new technologies has 
proven to be rather ambiguous in the 
ever-simmering battle over fares. 
While improvements in rapid repro- 
duction technologies (color xerox) 
have given fare evaders an importeint 
tool in circumventing the payment 
system, computerized fare processing 
has generally served the authorities 
well, at least so far. It is equally clear, 
however, that magnetic media too can 
be duplicated, and as such techno- 
logies become more available and 
better understood, new methods of 
counterfeiting will develop. Some clo- 
set technologists have suggested the 
possibility of duplicating the magnetic 
stripe with regular recording tape 
after analyzing the electronic im- 
pulses recorded on tickets with a tape 
recorder. Ultimately, humsin control 
over the information about how the 
computerized systems work is the 
Achilles Heel of these "foolproof" 
methods of fare collection. 

MAKE IT FREE! 

When the concept of "fairness" is 
used around public transportation, 
the only sensible interpretation for 
most of us is to demand that all public 



transit be made free to the users. The 
fact that the individual can occasion- 
ally use the system to visit friends, or 
for other private purposes, is the sole 
benefit for the average person. Let 
the real beneficiaries, the employers 
and merchants whose abilities to 
make profits depend on the existence 
of working public transit, pay the full 
costs of creating and maintaining 
these systems. And while we are at it 
(short of the abolition of wage-labor), 
let's demand to be paid for the full 
working day, including the hours of 
our lives wasted on public treinsit. 
Commute time is work, and it's time 
the employer paid for it! 

P.S. to transit workers: The next 
time you're fighting the transit auth- 
orities and want to press grievances 
or wage demands or anything in a 
direct and powerful way, t£ike a hint 
from the bus drivers in Milan, Italy, 
who have successfully used the strat- 
egy of keeping the transit going 
(thereby serving popular needs) but 
have refused to collect fares. Such a 
social strike can bring the managers 
to their senses much faster than any 
traditional strike (it will also generate 
a lot of popular support) . . . Warm 
regards to all you who "neglect" to 
enforce the cash nexus on your ve- 
hicles. 

— by Lucius Cabins 








WAGES FOR COMMUTE TIME! 




Once in a great while Hollywood 
producers exhibit a keen sense of his- 
toric opportunity. 

Spring 1979. Weeks before the 
nuclear blow-out at Three Mile Is- 
land, The China Syndrome exposes 
the industry's vulnerability, bringing 
life-like glimpses of the Harrisburg 
terror to the curious. Motivated by 
surreal news coverage of meltdowns, 
radioactive plumes, and other strange 
and threatening phenomena, milhons 
of Americans look to Hollywood to see 
what the nuclear power industry was 
really like. The accident made The 
China Syndrome an overnight $en- 
$ation and fed growing distrust of 
nukes. 

Summer 1983. In Pentagon war 
rooms, a debate rages over how 
deeply the U.S. should rely on com- 
puterized weapons systems and how 
much to invest in fifth generation 
computer R&D. Deviant computer 
hobbyists — 'hackers" — from Mil- 
waukee (the "414 Gang") penetrate a 
computer network at Los Alamos Labs 
(one of two labs that design virtually 
every U.S. nuclear military device). 
Meanwhile, twisted, t2ix-fed minds 
tinker with nuclear lockwork. Chiefs 
of Staff and mad engineers rush to 
deploy Pershing and Cruise missiles 
in Europe and MX "peacekeepers" at 
home, perhaps not fully conscious of 
the hairtrigger they set for global 



nuclear war. 

Along comes War Games. Here is a 
Hollywood movie that powerfully pro- 
jects an anti-nuclear war message, 
plausibly features a fifth generation 
computer in control of NOR AD (North 
American Aerospace Defense [sic] 
Command), and a computer whiz kid 
who (less plausibly) finds a backdoor 
to the computer's "War Games" 
directory. War Games makes a bun- 
dle for producer Leonard Goldberg 
and UA/MGM — but suggests that 
unlike coin-operated video games, 
"the only way to win nucleeir war is 
not to play." 

War Games recounts the story of a 
clever, unwitting breach of a fictional 
NORAD computer by a deviant Seat- 
tle youth who, thinking he has found a 
new video game, inadvertently ignites 
WWm. Generals and civihan tech- 
nical managers have recently as- 
signed the computer — ngmied WOPR 

— control over the continental air and 
ground nuclear deUvery system, an 
assignment prompted by the refusid 
of enough human beings in the 
milit£u-y to launch nuclear missiles at 
other human beings (during tests). 
The controversial step to "take hu- 
mans out of the loop" actually places 
a fifth generation computer — WOPR 

— in command. 

UncEmny timing is not the only fas- 



TECHNO-FASCISM 



65 



cination with War Games. 2001: A 
Space Odyssey, Failsafe, The Forhin 
Project, and even Dr. Strangelove 
have presented similar themes be- 
fore: sinister computers seizing con- 
trol over human affairs, nuclear wea- 
pons accidents waiting to happen, 
mad scientists and generals with state 
power, etc. War Games recombines 
these and other themes into some- 
thing of a celluloid Rosetta stone for 
the future. The anti-war message is 
apparent; others, embedded, are re- 
minders of the techno-dilemmas that 
both underpin and stalk civilization. 

DEVIANTS WITH A CAUSE? 

HIGH TECHnology awakens new 
meaning in the tired cliche "the pre- 
sent holds the key to the future ..." 
Today, barely perceptible parts per 
trillion of many compounds (such as 
PCBs) maim and poison human tissue 
and threaten the unborn. With deadly 
persistence, enriched uranium con- 
taminates everything for tens of thou- 
sands of years. Aerosol commodities 
perforate the earth's protective at- 
mosphere. We simply are not accus- 
tomed to thinking realistically about 
the raw power of modern technology. 
The damage may be irreversible, but 
the trend is not. The question is who 
will control technology and how will it 
be used? 

War Games portrays some of the 



frightening implications of HIGH 
TECH as well as its reliance on tech- 
nical workers — the creators and 
achilles heel of HIGH TECH. War 
Games also asks if "hacking" — the 
deviant probing and sabotage by 
curious computer programmers — is 
constructive. 

Like literature and movies that ex- 
plore similar themes. War Games pits 
people against their Frankenstein 
creations: much of this movie is a race 
against a machine-imposed deadline 
by human minds struggling against 
exquisitely executed military logic. To 
its credit. War Games suggests that 
HIGH TECHnology is not monolithic, 
but is vulnerable. War Games points 
to a modern, practical solution to all 
techno-dilemmas: revolt by those who 
really create technology: technical 
workers. 

In War Games, both the young 
hacker and the retired architect of the 
NORAD computer use their technical 
skills and deviant ways first to threat- 
en and then to consciously save hu- 
manity by "teaching" the computer 
that global thermonuclear war is like 
TIC TAC TOE: a game that no one can 
win. In a time of growing paranoia 
and gloom about HIGH TECHnology, 
War Games delivers a hopeful mes- 
sage: where there are deviant tech- 
nical workers, there is a way. 

In real life, deviant programmers 
and technical workers like those por- 











weight fast while eating all the^A 
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66 



Processed World 



trayed in War Games populate com- 
puter labs and military outposts. This 
cannot be comforting to managers 
and generals. But is hacking — 
technical sabotage — constructive? 
Not when it takes on such anti-social 
directions as mixing blood types in a 
hospital. But when it wipes out 
consumer billings at major public 
utilities? Or fouls programs that post- 
pone a new missile deployment? 
Individual deviance is not the con- 
structive social act that collective re- 
bellion can be. But it does indicate a 
raw, subversive potential. And for 
those of us not technically-employed 
or -inclined, it is a subversive po- 
tential that we must rely on, however 
uncomfortably, if we are to safely 
dismantle a lethal civilization. 

TECHO-FASCISM, the encrypted 
title of this review, suggests the alter- 
native emerging in the vacuum of 
revolt by technical workers and the 
rest of us. TECHNO-FASCISM is the 
evermore powerful and dangerous 
technology which the state and pri- 
vate capital deploy against us but 
cannot safely control. Its ideology is 
the supremacy of human creations 
over humanity and over creativity. 



Our submission to it greets the 
Orwellian New Year. 

A final note: War Games clearly 
was the stuff from which Hollywood 
blacklists were made in the early 
1950s. How did it slip through? 
Because it looked like — and was — a 
good investment to UA/MGM. And 
also because it contained or implied 
its share of Hollywood confusions, 
including our military leaders' ra- 
tionality, good intentions and wil- 
lingness to learn from mistakes. Films 
such as The Day After do not fare as 
well. The Day After is an ABC-TV 
film that graphically depicts what 
Kansas City looks like after a nuclear 
attack. In the film, the attack is 
provoked by the American deploy- 
ment of missiles in Europe. Ap- 
parently, and certainly plausibly, the 
Reagan administration is pressuring 
ABC not to air the fihn, which also has 
had the devil's own time trying to find 
a corporate sponsor. The 3V2 hour 
special was ready to run last May, and 
now is tentatively set to air on 
November 20. 



— by Melquiades 




Check 'em Out! 



Magazine {mag'-a-zen, mag-a-zen): (n.) 1. seeds waiting to be spread or propagated (fr. 
Arabic for granary); or 2. a space in which explosives are stored. 



Midnight Notes ($4 for 3 issues, P.O. 
Box 204, Jamaica Plains, MA, 02130) 
A very readable theoretical journal. 
Latest issue — "Posthumous Notes" 
— features analyses of the Freeze 
campaign, the global crisis, and an 
account of pre-revolution class revolts 
in Colonial America. Highly recom- 
mended. 

Bulldozer (P.O. Box 5052, Stn. "A", 
Toronto, Ontario Canada M5W 1W4) 
This original publication for inmates 
proclaims that a bulldozer is ' 'the only 
vehicle appropriate for prison re- 
form." The magazine is free for 
prisoners and provides them with an 
opportunity to speak for themselves 
and to others without censorship. 
Bulldozer's support for the Vancouver 
5, charged with bombing the Litton 
cruise missile factory in Toronto, and 
other ' 'crimes, ' ' led to a police raid on 
the Bulldozer members' household, 
which had been under heavy elec- 
tronic surveill£uice in previous 
months. 

Global Electronics Information News- 
letter ($5 sub., 867 West Dana St., 
#204, Mountain View, CA 94041) This 
4-page newsletter cont£iins updates 
about happenings in the electronics 
industry and especially about 3rd 
world workers who manufacture the 
circuitry. 

RE/SEARCH ($20 for 3 issu^as, 20 
Romolo #13, S.F., CA 94133) The cur* 
rent "Industrial Culture Hsadboofe'^ 
features artists such as M$3tk F^tttlme^/ 
Johanna Went and others whos0 **lm* 
petus in common is rebelllotl*>, ^et^ 
is no strict unifying aesthetic^ i^X<^(e^ 
that all things gross, atrociiiS^ IxOf* 
rific, demented and unjust are exam- 
ined with black-humor eyes. Nothing 
is (or ever will be) sacred, except a 
commitment to the realization of the 
individual imagination." Lotsa nice 



pictures, too. 

No Middle Ground ($6 for 4 issues, 
495 Ellis St., #781, S.F., CA 94102) 
Providing "anti-authoritarian per- 
spectives on Latin America and the 
Caribbean," it takes its neune from 
the belief "that the models of social 
change subsidized by the Western 
and Eastern powers have failed, and 
that there is no viable people's 
alternative except that of a self-man- 
aged revolution ..." 

Radical Science Journal ($10 for 3 
issues, 26 Freegrove Road, London 
N7 9RQ, England) RSJ is an analytical 
journal which looks at "how capital's 
priorities get incorporated £uid repre- 
sented as 'natural' in the direction of 
research and development." RSJ fo- 
cuses on labor processes and ideology 
in science, technology and medicine, 
in order to undermine oppressive 
forms of expertise, £uid to challenge 
the structure and purpose of scientific 
work. 

Kick It Over ($5 for 6 issues, P.O. Box 
5811, Stn. "A", Toronto, Ontario 
M5W .1P2, Canada) K.I.O. has re- 
centl)^ taken up the "pornography 
debate'- i^ several articles euid a 
se|les 1^1 letters. K.I.O. tries "to get 
givay from being political in a narrow 
Itense ... to do less railing against the 
State and the Right and more talking 
«botit what we desire from life and 
bow frequently these desires are 
themselves political." 

Iljitetlllitional Blacklist ($2.50, 719 
A&hbury St., SF, CA 94117) To find 
out about countless interesting 
gmups and publications we didn't 
have space to mention, check out this 
remarkably comprehensive listing of 
anti-authoritari£in and libertariein 
groups and projects from around the 
world. Has great graphics, too! 



68 



Processed World 



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Soslainen (BMily bto Ul)..... $25+; Contoratimia k Gov't. Agencies i 

IT'5 fl PRDCE55ED UUDRLD! 



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